Hospital workers and health care activists are fighting to stop Ontarios Bill 8 unless concrete amendments are made to key sections of the bill. Introduced in November 2003 by the Liberal McGuinty government, the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act (Bill 8) promises to increase accountability and accessibility in the health care sector.
But CUPE members know better. The bill leaves open the back door for more P3 hospitals, user fees, de-listing and two-tier medicine. It gives the minister of health the power to restructure the health care system and gut collective agreements.
Ontarios health minister George Smitherman admits, Its clear we didnt get the tone of the bill right in some areas. But while he has promised amendments, they wont be made public until March 9.
Together with our allies, CUPE members spoke passionately in hearings against the bill. They jammed the phone lines of MPPs, urging them to side with the public interest. They are meeting with MPPs on March 5 and on March 19, CUPE members and other hospital workers in Ontario will participate in a demonstration outside the legislation.
Accelerating privatization over the past several months is a wake-up call to concerned workers and community members. If legislation like Bill 8 passes, it wont be long before all hospitals in Ontario are privatized, says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).
For more information, visit www.cupe.ca/www/bill8campaign