While the Ford government plans to double private delivery of MRIs and CT scans, OCHU/CUPE says underused hospital operating rooms should be better utilized


Toronto, ON – Hospital workers protested the Ford government’s rapid expansion of health care privatization outside Ontario PC MPP Michael Ford’s constituency office in Toronto this morning. In June, the government announced it will nearly double private delivery of MRIs and CT scans.

“The Ford government says the status quo isn’t working – but it’s a status quo of their own making,” said Michael Hurley, President of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE). “They have been underfunding and starving the public system and dangling privatization as a solution. But privatization is twice as expensive and comes with longer waiting lists. We are calling for real solutions to the hospital crisis, like concrete measures to attract and retain new staff and the addition of new beds.”

The union pointed out a recent Ontario Health Coalition report that found private clinics are illegally billing patients up to $8,000 for medically necessary services in violation of the Canada Health Act.

“Premier Ford famously claimed that Ontarians would never have to pay with their credit card, only their OHIP card. However, patients at for-profit clinics are being charged thousands of dollars,” said Sharon Richer, Secretary-Treasurer of OCHU/CUPE. “People have been told they can either pay for medically needed surgeries or face extreme wait times.”

Mark Hancock, CUPE National President, said healthcare workers are concerned that the government is not investing sufficiently in the public system, all while funnelling money away to private operators.

“How is it justifiable that most hospitals in Ontario are facing deficits due to underfunding, while public money is being funnelled to private clinics?” he said. “Staff in public hospitals are overwhelmed, overworked, and under-resourced. But somehow, the government has found more money for the much more expensive private clinics – it’s baffling.”

Hancock said it was surprising that surgeries were being outsourced to private clinics while operating rooms across the province remained closed on evenings and weekends.

“You would think that if the main concern was improving surgical wait-times, they would make better use of existing capacity in public hospitals,” Hancock said. “They are moving in the wrong direction. Health care workers know that the surge of demand for surgeries and diagnostics can best and least expensively be delivered in public hospitals.”


For more information contact:

Robert Murdoch

CUPE Communications

[email protected]