PEMBROKE, ON – Over the last few years, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1502 at the Pembroke Regional Hospital, have often boarded buses at the crack of dawn to join thousands of like-minded defenders of public health care at several large ‘Stop the Cuts’ rallies across the province.


On Tuesday (January 15) at 7:00 p.m., they will be honoured for their dedication to protect public health care when they are presented with a plaque at a ceremony at the CUPE Area Office, 380 Isabella Street.


“In communities throughout Ontario, frontline hospital staff, like Simone Burger, the president of CUPE 1502, at the Pembroke hospital are advocating for better provincial funding and quality patient care. They’ve also fought hard to keep hospital jobs local by mounting a campaign against the contracting out of surgical equipment sterilization to a private company outside of the community. We believe they should be recognized for their commitment to defend public health services,” says Louis Rodrigues, 1st Vice-President of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).


Hospital funding in Ontario lags behind other provinces and patient care is impacted greatly as a result. Also, Ontario funding for hospitals is partly based on population growth. Because the population in small and rural communities like Pembroke are not increasing, the local hospital is greatly disadvantaged, says Rodrigues. “It’s the frontline health care staff, like Simone, who are allying with people in communities across Ontario, attending rallies and public meetings to advocate for better provincial funding who we will be honouring at Tuesday’s presentation.”


The next ‘Stop the Cuts’ rally is slated for April 23, 2019 in Toronto.