OTTAWA – A provincial funding freeze in the hospital sector would cost 9000 jobs, almost equal to the 9800 jobs that would be lost if Chrysler Canada went under, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU ) said today at government budget hearings.
“This is not the time for the McGuinty government to create huge layoffs by freezing hospital funding,” said OCHU President Michael Hurley today in remarks to the Province’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
Outside, front-line health care workers rallied against the McGuinty government’s chronic underfunding of the health care system, which has created deficits in half the province’s hospitals.
Hurley noted that even if the province keeps its promise of a 2.1 per cent funding increase, there will still be deep cuts because the rate of inflation for hospitals is 3.5 per cent. With a 2.1 per cent funding increase – still 1.4 per cent below inflation – Ontario hospitals would leave up to 4000 positions unfilled and up to 1000 hospital employees would be laid off.
“The government needs to fund hospitals adequately and it needs to help the hospitals which have run deficits because of significantly increased demand,” he said.
Hurley pointed to recent studies by the think-tank Informetrica that found that $1 billion invested in infrastructure creates 12,500 jobs. The same billion dollars invested in health care creates 18,100 jobs.
“Investing in health makes good economic sense,” Hurley said.
Michael Hurley, President, OCHU/CUPE, cell: 416 884 0770
David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell: 613 878 1431