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(Toronto) The Tory privatization of home care services is destroying the century-old Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), said Sid Ryan, President of the Canadian Union Of Public Employees, Ontario Division. Ryan was addressing a news conference called to publicize demands for reform to compulsory competitive bidding for home health care services.

We are witnessing the destruction of part of our heritage the VON is over a century old. In Kingston, the VON has served for 106 years. The tradition of Canadian public health care is under attack.

The economic pressures of compulsory competitive bidding guarantee that medical mega-corporations can use their capital reserves to underbid and over power a non-profit agency such as the VON, Ryan added.

As a result, patients are losing continuity of care, Irene Harris, Chairperson of the Ontario Health Coalition added. A mega-corporation wins the contract and suddenly the person at home sees a new face at the door. Is the new person trustworthy? Knowledgeable?

“Our non-profit home and community care providers are going belly-up because the Conservative government put corporate profits ahead of patient care,” said NDP Leader Howard Hampton. “Ontario New Democrats know the key to quality home care in Ontario is publicpower. That means ending competitive bidding, increasing home care hours and returning Community Care Access Centres to community control. It’s good for patients. It’s good for nurses.”

The governments policy is not working. Nurses and other staff have had enough of low wages and constant instability, said Ryan.

As an immediate step the Eves government must ensure the CCAC increases funding for the VON. We must not lose a 106 year tradition in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington, he concluded.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ontario Division has 200,000 members engaged in health care, education, municipal services and other public services.

The Ontario Health Coalition, consisting of over 300 organizations and more than 2,000 individuals, works to empower the members of its constituent organizations to become actively engaged in the making of public policy on matters related to health care and healthy communities.

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Sid Ryan, 416 209-0066
Stella Yeadon, 416 578-8774 (Monday)