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HAMILTON – The McGuinty government “transformation” of health care is nothing more than a thinly veiled plan to increase private health service delivery in Ontario and a surreptitious attack on medicare. And hospital workers are poised to fight back against the Liberal attack on the public health system, say nearly 200 delegates attending a health care policy and strategy convention in Hamilton next week.

Hospital workers, who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), have been sounding the alarm in their Ontario communities that the changes coming to health care delivery under the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) model, and the McGuinty Liberals’ shift to only approving private hospitals, will tip the balance toward a two-tier, and increasingly private, health system.

While publicly spouting rhetoric defending medicare, this government is presiding over the largest privatization of health care in Ontario,” says Michael Hurley, the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), the hospital division of CUPE.

CUPE, in Ontario, represents 32,000 hospital workers including registered practical nurses and dietary, custodial and clerical staff. As both health care workers and users of the public system, health care privatization will doubly adversely impact hospital workers.

The Liberals’ LHIN plan is focused on cost-cutting through contracting out and eliminating hospital workers’ jobs as services are merged and cut, not on improving health service delivery and strengthening the public system, says Hurley.

McGuinty is fueling a confrontation with CUPE hospital workers — who will be very visible in communities across Ontario fighting any downsizing of health services and the contracting out of their jobs — leading into the next provincial election,” adds Hurley.

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) Convention
Sheraton Hotel, 116 King Street West, Hamilton — Grand Ballroom
April 18 — 21, 2006 (The convention begins at 7:00 p.m. on April 18.)

Convention guest speakers include:
CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan
CUPE National President Paul Moist
Hamilton NDP MPP Andrea Horwath


For more information contact:

Michael Hurley President, OCHU/CUPE (416) 884-0770

Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications (416) 578-8774