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DRYDEN, ON – The McGuinty Liberals are proposing massive changes to the way hospital, long-term care, home care and community social services are funded and delivered in Ontario. The government intends to pass legislation that will create 14 new regional health structures called Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) across the province. Through the LHINs, the province intends to merge and redistribute regionally the funding and delivery of health care and some social services.

The proposed LHINs cover large geographic areas, and the Liberals readily admit that the health and community social services currently provided locally will be spread out over the entire LHIN area. The government calls the merging of services, “integration.” But health and social service workers in Northern Ontario are cautioning that the changes and “integration,” proposed through the LHINs, will compromise the quality of health care and social services, and make it harder for people in Northern Ontario to access already scarce health services.

In Northern Ontario, where access to services is already a concern, merging and integrating more health services will pose incredible barriers for patients as they will have to travel further to get the medical help they used to get closer to home,” says Michael Hurley, the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario.

On November 1, Hurley will be joined by hospital, long-term care, home care and community social service workers from Northern Ontario at a media conference in Dryden to highlight the radical changes being proposed by the McGuinty Liberals under the LHINs.

  • WHO:
    Michael Hurley, president, OCHU/CUPE
    Judy Bain, president, CUPE 1781 (Lake of the Woods District Hospital)
    Long-term care, and community social service workers from several
    Northern Ontario communities, including Thunder Bay and Fort Francis

  • WHAT:
    Media Conference — Proposed changes to health services under a LHINs system

  • WHERE:
    Best Western Hotel, 349 Government Street, Dryden, ON

  • WHEN:
    Tuesday, November 1, 2005 — 12:00 noon
    (Media is welcome to attend the CUPE member workshop on the LHINs, ongoing at the same location from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)


For more information, please contact:

Michael Hurley
President, OCHU/CUPE
(416) 884-0770

Judy Bain
President, CUPE 1781
(807) 467-1990

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774