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RENFREW, Ont. – Frustrated by a secretive, behind-the-scenes provincial government review of home care competitive bidding and the lack of public input, home care advocates want to hear directly from Renfrew area home care recipients and home care workers about their experiences with home care under a competitive model.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is holding a media conference in Renfrew on April 7, 2008 to release a home care telephone hotline and detail why competitive bidding and for-profit delivery is unsuited for publicly funded home care.

WHO:              Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE)

                        Debbie Chaudhari, Employee of a Home Support Agency, Ottawa

WHAT:           Home Care Media Conference

WHERE:         Royal Canadian Legion, 30 Raglan St. S., Renfrew, ON

WHEN:           Monday, April 7, 2008 – 10:00 a.m.

Studies show that, since competition was introduced a decade ago, the quality of home care has suffered, working conditions have diminished, and costs have increased as for-profit providers have taken over a majority of home care province-wide.

Despite the mounting evidence against competitive bidding and a for-profit home system, last week, in the Ontario Legislature, Premier Dalton McGuinty said he is not going to make the commitment to end home care competitive bidding. And although the McGuinty Liberals have stressed that the contract process is focused on quality services and not cutting health care costs, the Premier also said that his government thinks the “competitive bidding process is an important aspect of helping us to manage those costs.”

“The Premier believes that the lack of continuity of care is related to the loss of contracts by providers,” said Debbie Chaudhari, an employee of a home support agency in Ottawa. “The reality is that bad wages, hours, benefits and pensions have driven many dedicated front line workers out of the home care sector and broken the continuity of care that seniors, and others, depend on and deserve.”

Hurley says that, “the adverse realities of home care competitive bidding, and for-profit delivery, are being ignored by this government. The hotline will provide an opportunity for those in Renfrew directly affected by contract competition to relay their experiences and give input into a process that the McGuinty government has shut them out of.”

For more information please contact:

Valerie Dugale            CUPE Communications                   (647) 225-3685

Michael Hurley           President, OCHU/CUPE                    (416) 884-0770                                 COPE491/EW