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TORONTO — The McGuinty government’s health integration networks (LHINs) are the central target of a million-dollar the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario campaign aimed at taking on the Liberal agenda for the province.

There is nothing local about local health integration networks,” said Sid Ryan, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario division. “Without consulting local communities — including health care providers — Dalton McGuinty is ploughing ahead with yet another restructuring project that is going to make health care harder to get.”

CUPE’s view of LHINs is shared widely by Ontarians, he said, pointing to a recent SES Research/Osprey Media poll that showed half of those surveyed believe LHINs will increase the cost of health care.

Almost 40 per cent said they believe health care services will deteriorate under LHINs,” Ryan said. “The Liberals are planning to bring competitive bidding to all health care services, just like the Tories did with home care. The results will be catastrophic for the people who need that care.”

Next month, CUPE Ontario and the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) begins a series of meetings across the province to lay the groundwork for a massive campaign to shift the government away from LHINs as the quick fix for health care. It’s part of the union’s million-dollar “Rebuilding Strong Communities” movement.

The School of the 3Ps — a mobile exhibit showing the pitfalls and hidden costs of public-private partnerships for infrastructure renewal — begins its northern tour tomorrow with stops in Kenora, Fort Frances and Sault Ste. Marie.

Tonight, Ryan speaks in Windsor at a meeting of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) pension plan members and retirees about the Liberal legislation changing the plan’s governance structure. The bill imposes a cap on pension benefit improvements while introducing a weak structure that does not provide real member oversight of the plan. Ryan said he expects it to go to public hearings this fall.

Strong, community-based health care, strong public infrastructure and strong pensions are the building blocks of strong communities,” he said. “That’s the message we’ll be carrying across the province throughout this legislative session.”

For more information, contact:

Sid Ryan
CUPE Ontario president
(416) 209-0066 (cell)

Michael Hurley
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions president
(416) 884-0770

Pat Daley
CUPE communications
(416) 616-6142 (cell)