Doctor holding a dollar signThis week, the four conservative Atlantic premiers, along with Ontario’s Premier Ford, announced their idea of bringing in privatization in health care, instead of dealing with the recruitment and retention crisis.

The premiers floated the idea of publicly funded but privately operated health care services. CUPE, which represents approximately 16,000 health care workers in the four Atlantic provinces, is calling on the premiers to retract their statements and rule out privatization.

One of the government’s fundamental jobs is delivering good public services for all. Handing over this responsibility to private corporations means they do not want to meet their basic job requirements as premiers.

Privatization will not solve staffing issues. It simply drains workers from the public sector to the private sector, moving people around instead of bringing more people in it. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

In the U.S., where health care is completely privatized, they have massive staff shortages, so let’s not fall into that trap.

Earlier this year, the American Hospital Association called the workforce shortage in U.S. hospitals a “national emergency.” In July 2022, U.S. News reported that staff shortages were “choking the U.S. health care system.”

Our governments must focus on public solutions, like removing barriers to entry in the workforce, cutting tuition fees, stopping the casualization of the work and improving working conditions for all, in order to retain staff.