KINGSTON, ON – On Monday, provincial budget hearings begin in eight communities across Ontario. However, Kingston isn’t one of them. That’s why the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1974, which represents 1,600 hospital staff at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), is holding a media conference on Friday, January 18 (2019) at 11:00 a.m., at Kingston City Hall, to provoke discussion on needed investments in hospital, home and long-term care.
“We were shut out of provincial hearings here in Kingston. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t kick-start our own local dialogue. We need to make ourselves heard about our underfunded hospital, which has operated overcapacity nearly every day in the last few months,” says Brent Tousignant, vice-president of CUPE 1974.
Ontario’s PC government has promised $7 billion in tax cuts, the elimination of the deficit, and cut revenue by shelving the carbon tax.
“It is hard to cut the deficit without cutting health care and hospital funding given that these are a significant proportion of provincial spending,” says Michael Hurley, president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), who will attend the media conference on Friday.
Compared to other provinces, Ontario is running its hospital system very frugally. Provincial hospital funding per capita is 28.3 per cent higher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario — $404.09 more per person per year. As a result, patients here in Ontario have access to many fewer beds and staff than patients in other provinces.