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Stand up for public health care. A need of every citizen and a right for all!

International Health Workers’ Day is a time to celebrate the contributions made by health care workers in Canada and around the world. It is also a day to support the right of citizens of all countries to have universal access to health care delivered by public sector workers.

April 7 was first designated International Health Workers’ Day at a meeting of the Health Care Workers Exchange, a project initiated and supported by CUPE’s Global Justice Mondiale Fund, the Hospital Employees’ Union, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions and CUPE Ontario.

Unions in Canada, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil and other countries of the hemisphere endorse April 7 as International Health Workers’ Day. It falls on the same day as the World Health Organization’s World Health Day.

In fact, this year’s WHO World Health Day will be devoted to the health workforce crisis. Hundreds of organizations will rally and lobby governments to draw attention to the global health workforce crisis and celebrate the dignity and value of working in health care.

Health care workers in every country are struggling against the commercialization of health care services, the privatization of delivery and trade deals like the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) that promote private for profit corporate control and limit access to health care through two tier systems – one for the rich and another for the poor.

On April 7 health care workers will be asking governments in Canada and around the world to commit fully to public health care. Fairly compensated, unionized jobs are the best way to deliver high quality health care.

International Health Workers’ Day is an opportunity to:

  • Mark the contributions that health workers make to public health care.
  • Reinforce public health care as a fundamental right of all peoples and as a service that needs to be provided by governments.
  • Build public health care for all while fighting privatization and corporate free trade deals that undermine public health care.
  • Lobby governments to stop jeopardizing public health care.
  • Call attention to the commitment of workers and citizens in forming coalitions to build strong public health care systems.
  • Expose governments and corporations that sacrifice health for profits.
  • Demand that the Canadian government withhold federal health care funding if provinces violate the Canada Health Act.

Take action on April 7:

  • Speak out! Write your member of Parliament and your provincial member of the legislature. Ask them to take a stand for public health care.
  • Take action! Write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and federal Health Minister Tony Clement. Ask them to take a stand for public health care and say no to provincial plans that introduce private insurance and private clinics to deliver medically necessary treatments.
  • Practice Solidarity! Write to International Cooperation Minister Josée Verner to ask that Canada promote public health care in our international development work and trade negotiations.
  • Get Involved! Go to www.healthcoalition.ca and get involved in the pharmacare campaign.
  • Give your solidarity to health care workers in your community! Organize a workplace information table about health care workers and their valuable work.
  • Sign on to the statement of principles, demands and actions (will be a weblink) in support of universal public health care and in opposition to privatization.

Stand up for public health care. A need of every citizen and a right for all!