Crowd rallies at Ontario legislature against health system changes

Crowd rallies at Ontario legislature against health system changes

Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario Conservative government will be making major changes to the provincial education system, including increasing the average class size requirements for Grade 9 to 12 classes from 22 to 28.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the government is committed to the public health-care system.

According to OHC, all of the proposed changes were not mentioned during the provincial election.

This is the second event planned this week to protest Ford. The Coalition is made up of patient groups, seniors' organizations, unions representing health care workers and private sector workers, health professionals, doctors, nurses, cultural organizations, women's groups, anti-poverty and social justice groups, ecumenical and faith organizations, municipalities, businesses, non-profit health and social services and many more.

The group's executive director Natalie Mehra says the government's health spending - announced in the provincial budget - will not cover the cost of inflation and is effectively a funding cut to hospitals. "For health care overall, funding levels will not keep pace with population growth and inflation".

Many protesters voiced concerns about future privatization of services as a result of the new measures.

"We want to work collaboratively with the City of Toronto and I think it's unfortunate that the amount of rhetoric has been amped-up to the degree it has because I am confident that the essential program that Toronto Public Health is meant to deliver will be delivered", she said.

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"We just need everyone in Ontario to stand up and say this is wrong", he said.

Jeff Hanks, a co-chair of the London Health Coalition, said any cuts to public health care could be detrimental, especially with the potential for flu and measles outbreaks.

"This government claims to be for the people, and the people are here today, so let's hope they listen", said Katha Fortier of Unifor.

The government is creating a new superagency, called Ontario Health, that will consolidate 14 local health integration networks, Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario and several other agencies.

"Putting youth at risk is not how you balance a budget".

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government's plan for health care is the wrong approach. They will help us understand the consequences of Bill 74 both provincially and in Toronto's east end.

During a live appearance on the Fox Business program Varney & Co., Ford welcomed American viewers to "come on up to Toronto" for work stating, "we have so many jobs right now in Ontario we don't have enough people to fill the jobs". "Health care is one of the big areas where they are going to be cutting and privatizing".

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