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TORONTO – Four unions representing 200,000 health care and community social service workers have taken their campaign to fight the Ontario government’s Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) plan to the province’s airwaves and TV screens.

Less than a week after holding well-attended workplace protests in cities throughout the province, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) will bring their collective defence of public health care to programs such as Desperate Housewives, ER, the Barbara Walters pre-Oscar interviews and the Olympics in ads starting today.

The ads urge citizens to take a critical look at LHINs, and turn up the heat on MPPs, Health Minister George Smitherman and Premier Dalton McGuinty. The television ad and two radio ads depict the impact on patient care of a health delivery scheme designed to encourage service at the lowest cost.

The unions are campaigning to stop the government from passing Bill 36 as it is currently written – a scheme that opens the door to the privatization of health services, threatens Ontarians with more travel to access treatment, and reduces local control. The union leaders will meet with the Health Minister to discuss their concerns about the legislation on March 16.

The unions - along with numerous community organizations and public health care advocates - have serious concerns with Bill 36, the legislation that enables the LHINs. They are asking the McGuinty government to block contracting-out and rationalization of both clinical and non-clinical services. Among other changes, the coalition seeks to make LHINs accountable to their communities through the popular election of their Boards.


For more information, please contact:

Sheree Bond, ONA - (416) 964-8833 Ext. 2430

Stella Yeadon, OCHU/CU - (416) 578-8774 1-800-268-7378

Sonia Reynolds, SEIU - (416) 282-0649

David Cox, OPSEU - (416) 788-9197