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SudburyOpening a private, for-profit cancer clinic is a hurtful blow to medicare because ultimately it will leave our public system vulnerable to free trade rules and allow privatization by large multi-national corporations, says Michael Hurley, the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, a division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Hurley will hold a press conference today (March 5, 2001) in Sudbury at the Mine Mill Hall at 2 p.m. to highlight why Ontarians, particularly those who live in the north, should oppose the scheme.

Last Friday, CUPE launched a complaint with the federal government under the Canada Health Act arguing that allowing the Ontario government to contract out after-hours essential cancer radiation treatment to a for-profit corporation poses a threat to the universality protections and not for-profit provisions stipulated under the act, leaving our health care system open to privatization under free trade rules.
CUPE, which represents more than 30,000 health care workers and is the largest public sector union in the province, released copies of letters to Federal Health Minister Allan Rock and Ontario Health Minister Tony Clement, asking that the private cancer clinic operation at Torontos Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre be shut down.
CUPE highlights several key areas of concern including under Section 7 of the Act that states insured health services must satisfy the criterion of public administration. This includes the requirement that the plan be administered and operated on a non-profit basis by a public authority, a condition that Canadian Radiation Oncology Services, the private company contracted to provide the radiation therapy, clearly does not meet.
There are alternatives to the privatization of cancer care to clear up the backlog for treatment under the public system that the Ontario government should consider. And the Federal government must ensure that the principles of the Canada Health Act are upheld by all provincial governments, says Hurley.
CUPE in Ontario represents over 580 cancer care therapists and other workers, who are directly employed in the public system by Canada Care Ontario.
For more information please contact:
Michael Hurley, President OCHU
(416) 884-0770
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774