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TORONTO Dalton McGuinty is short changing both hospitals and the patients in them with the so-called transitional fund announced today, says Sid Ryan, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

Half of the money announced today will pay to push hospital workers out the door, Ryan said. At a time when our province is still recovering from the SARS crisis, when we hear warnings almost daily about superbugs, when patients already feel a lack of human contact and caring, this move by the Liberals is unforgivable.

McGuinty and his health minister, George Smitherman, have taken a page from the Tory playbook as they try to distinguish between clinical and non-clinical services in the provinces hospitals, he said.

The Tories did it with schools when they tried to separate classroom and non-classroom functions and we saw what happened there, Ryan said. Students across Ontario have paid the price.

Everyone working in a hospital today is involved in patient care whether its the laundry worker ensuring bedding is clean and germ-free, the dietary aide preparing nutritious meals or the housekeeper who helps keep disease at bay in every corner of the hospital.

Just like Mike Harris, the McGuinty Liberals are turning the system upside down and inside out, Ryan said, noting that the $200 million announced today only means that there will be even more layoffs in the future because it does nothing to address hospitals operating deficits, which currently total about $450 million.

CUPE represents more than 30,000 hospital workers in Ontario.


For more information, contact:
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-209-0066 (cell), Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-616-6142 (cell)