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Quebec Liberals push plan to allow private insurance

OTTAWA – Premier Jean Charest’s Liberals say there is a “new era” in health care for Quebec after urging privatization of services and insurance, but the province’s plan will only undermine the public system, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

This policy paper from Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard – and Charest, a former federal Tory minister – repeats the flawed approach of increasing privatization in the public health care system,” said CUPE national secretary-treasurer Claude Généreux. “It’s unacceptable and there is no role for private clinics or private insurance in the public system.”

The Liberals plan to introduce guaranteed access wait times for several procedures including knee and hip replacements and cataract operations. Private clinics will be allowed to provide services and patients can purchase private insurance if wait times can’t be met in the public system.

Wait times are important but privatization is not the solution. The solutions to wait time problems are in the public system. Charest should be addressing the underfunding of the public system and dealing with improving it rather than holding up privatization as some kind of solution,” Généreux said. “This policy plan will not help fix the system, it will lead to increased wait times and poorer delivery in the public system and allow health care to be accessed only by the wealthy.”

Private, for-profit delivery of health care only weakens the whole system and undermines the Canada Health Act, which ensures equal access for all Canadians.

Health care delivery should always be based on need and never on the ability to pay. It’s one of the basic rights of living in this nation,” he said.


CUPE is Canada’s largest union, with 540,000 members providing public services in communities across the country, including health care, child care, municipal services and more.

Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer (514) 884-5074
Barry Doyle, CUPE Communications, (613) 294-9424