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Health privatization inventory underscores need for action

OTTAWA, ON. – Canada’s largest union is urging provincial and territorial leaders, meeting today at the Council of the Federation in Banff, Alb., to take a vital step in shortening wait times for medical treatment by stopping the spread of health care privatization.

Better management of wait lists and more resources are crucial to getting timely health care. But shortening wait lists will also take a renewed commitment to publicly delivered care,” says Canadian Union of Public Employees’ (CUPE) National President Paul Moist, commenting on the release of today’s Wait List Alliance final report.

While some suggest privatized care is the way to shorten wait times, the research from Canada and around the world simply isn’t on their side. For-profit delivery actually lengthens wait lists and drives up costs,” says Moist.

Moist says he is pleased the wait list report calls for rapid action and cautions against rigid guarantees of care, which could fuel the growth of private clinics and would prove costly to administer. Instead, the report should help frame integrated, broad-based reforms of the larger public system.

CUPE monitoring demonstrates that nearly a year after the first ministers signed an accord to “fix” health care for the next decade, medicare is still being eroded and undermined by privatization. The latest developments, including more than 60 new privatization initiatives, are tracked in “Innovation” Exposed, an inventory of privatization since the first ministers signed the deal in September 2004.

”The continuing challenge is to ensure that the money promised in last September’s accord gets spent on publicly delivered health care, not for-profit services,” he says.

The evidence is clear – privatization won’t make Canadian health care faster or more efficient. There is no shortage of ideas for public reform and expansion. Canadians are counting on the premiers to take action that stops the spread of privatization,” said Moist.

CUPE represents tens of thousands of front-line workers in the health care system across the country, including cleaning and nutrition staff, licensed practical nurses and technicians.


Paul Moist
CUPE national president
(613) 558-2873

Claude Généreux
CUPE national secretary-treasurer
(porte-parole francophone)
(514) 884-5074

Karin Jordan
CUPE communications
(613) 222-4436 (cell)