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OTTAWA, ON – A majority of Canadians trust public union employees over private contractor employees to keep their hospitals clean from infections, according to a new poll commissioned by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).  

The poll, conducted by Nanos Research, found that 51.3% of Canadians preferred public union employees, while 34% preferred private contractors providing cleaning services in hospitals and 14.8% were unsure.  

Canadians prefer public union employees providing hospital cleaning services over private contractors in every demographic, regional and party preference category with the exception of Quebec.  

Health care acquired infections are one of the most significant infectious disease challenges in Canada, affecting one in nine Canadian hospital patients each year. By not enforcing the Canada Health Act, the Harper government has allowed increased privatization of hospital cleaning services.  

When all that matters is a private company’s cost-saving bottom line, cleaning standards plummet and virulent diseases spread,” said Paul Moist, CUPE national president. “Clearly, a majority of Canadians recognize that our public, unionized employees are committed to diligently providing cleaning services within hospitals that keep the general public safe.”  

Support for publicly provided services is highest in Atlantic Canada (61.3%), Canadians aged 18-29 (58%), NDP supporters (60.5%) and women (52.5%). Demographic areas traditionally associated with the Harper base, including the West, Canadians aged 40-60, and those who identified as Conservative voters also want public union employees to deliver hospital cleaning services.  

 “Canadians want their hospitals to remain in public hands,” said Moist. “We are calling on all parties to state categorically that they will reject further privatization of health care cleaning services.”  


The poll results are based on a random telephone survey of 1,200 Canadians from September 20th to September 22nd, 2008. The margin of accuracy for a sample of 1,200 is ±2.8%, 19 times out of 20. For more details on the poll please see the attachment. For more information on polling technique please visit www.nanosresearch.com.

  The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada’s largest union with 570,000 members in the following sectors: health, municipal, education (K-12 and post-secondary), libraries, transportation, energy and media (in Quebec).

  For further information please contact: Allison Gifford, CUPE Communications – 613-484-2571 (cell); Sébastien Goulet, CUPE Communications – 613-808-0675 (cell)