KENORA, ON – Polling that surveys Kenora residents about the massive changes the Doug Ford Progressive Conservative government is planning to make to the province’s health system is being released on Monday, May 6 at 12:00 noon at the Kenora area office of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) office at 308 Second St. S., Second floor.

Commissioned by CUPE Ontario and the CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE), the poll was conducted at the end of February in ridings that elected a PC MPP – including Kenora-Rainy River – in the June 2018 election. The poll did not include the most recent PC plans for public health cuts and paramedic services and emergency dispatch amalgamations.

Initially, these health system changes included merging the province’s 150 hospitals into 30-50 mega hospitals, privatizing services and subsuming care coordination done through Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and the province’s highly regarded Cancer Care Ontario into a new “super agency.” However, recently the Ford government announced even more changes to health services. Provincial funding is being cut from public health prevention programs as well as the amalgamation of 35 public health units down to 10 and the merging of 59 municipal ambulance services and dispatch into 10.

Polling followed weeks of damaging information leaks that showed the PC’s intent to move very quickly to “restructure” hospitals, long-term care homes and home and community care across the province, all without any meaningful consultations with Ontarians.

Leaked draft legislation also surfaced, overshadowing the PCs expert health care panel release of their first report identifying health system gaps and well ahead of their second report with recommendations. PCs intend to keep Ontario’s health system in a continual state of chaos under a process of endless mergers, integrations and service privatizations. Despite PC denials that the legislation was a draft, just weeks later, they tabled Bill 74 – an expansive Omnibus Bill that, for the most part, mirrored the leaked draft.

Documents also showed the creation of a new bureaucracy, a ‘super agency’ of sorts, that would subsume care coordination done through local health networks and the province’s highly regarded Cancer Care Ontario.

Kenora residents were asked if they were aware of these large scale changes the PCs planned to make to health care in their community. They were asked whether they supported the PC changes broadly and specifically in areas such as hospital, long-term care and community care mergers into large health providers, service privatization and if they thought this kind of restructuring would save any money.

Similar polls were conducted in PC-held ridings across Ontario.

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For more information, please contact:

Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications 416-559-9300, [email protected]

COPE491/EW

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