The Ontario Public Service Employees Union says allowing privatization of Ontarios health system such as certain lab services, particular procedures and more, does not save the public money, creates a two-tiered system and only weakens further the public system

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union says allowing privatization of Ontarios health system such as certain lab services, particular procedures and more, does not save the public money, creates a two-tiered system and only weakens further the public system
Photo Credit: Radio-Canada

Private vs. public: Battle for Ontario’s health-care system


Canada has long had a publicly-funded health care system. Generally it means that for the majority of medical situations and hospital visits there will be little or no cost to the patient.

The provinces however control their own health care system meaning there are slight differences among the provinces. In all locations the private sector has been making inroads and taking over some health services previously carried out in hospitals or elsewhere in the public health sector.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been calling for increased privatization and now plans a major year-long campaign to promote the idea.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas is president of the Ontarioa Public Service Employees Union and strongly opposes the privatization trend

Shown speaking at Queen’s Park, Toronto (Ontario legislature) Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is strongly opposed to privitization of public health care saying health care should be about people not profit
Shown speaking at Queen’s Park, Toronto (Ontario legislature) Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is strongly opposed to privitization of public health care saying health care should be about people not profit © OPSEU

Thomas agrees with the Chamber’s survey and figures which say that

77 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about the health care system’s sustainability.  It also says 80 per cent feel that “Ontario’s health care system will need to undergo broad reform in order to meet the challenges of changing demographics.”

Thomas says what he disputes is the Chamber’s claims that those figures support their position to have more privatization of health care. He says that, “The private sector’s involvement in health care is the cause of many of our system’s problems, not the solution”.

Thomas says Ontarian’s are concerned because the province has been cutting back on funding and reducing front line staff in cost-cutting measures thereby reducing service. Yet, Thomas says,  while at the same time high priced managers have been kept on.

Mr Thomas says the often promoted idea that privatization of some services is less costly, is simply false. In a particular lab test for example, the public (non-profit) and private actual lab costs are the same, but when a private lab takes over a previously public lab operation it will charge on top of that to gain its profit, a cost that will come out of the taxpayer’s pocket.

He also says that increasing private clinics and operations creates a two-tier system, one for the rich, and another for the less wealthy.

Thomas also says the oft promoted idea that privatisation will relieve some of the backlog in the public health care system, is also false.

He says increasing private services merely siphons off a percentage of medical professionals from the public sector, thereby actually increasing the workload and backlog in the public sector.

Health care workers in Kitchener Ontario protest contract negotiations Their T-shirts read *Patients before profits*
Home care workers in Kitchener Ontario in 2015 protest contract negotiations. Their T-shirts read *Patients before profits* © OPSEU file photo

He also notes that the government and the OCC are now using other words such as “transformation” to avoid use of the word privatization.

Mr Thomas cites other examples of how privatization has failed the public. He notes a costly failed attempt at privatising jails. Another example is  the $242 million dollar software programme bought from a major corporation for Ontario’s Social Assistance Management System, which has since cost about $100 million more to attempt to repair according to Thomas. He says that in a claimed cost-saving measure, the province fired all the public employees who could have built such a system for about $30 million.

He also expressed concern that the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne has hired a banker as her advisor for such things as health care, someone he says has no understanding of health care issues, and who has publicly criticized health care workers as being too highly paid, and with pensions that are too costly.

The OCC says it will begin a year-long lobbying campaign to promote more privatization of Ontario’s publicly-funded health-care in the province. In a press release, Thomas says they will refute the Chamber’s falsehoods every step of the way.

additional information-sources

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Economy, Health, Politics, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.


One comment on “Private vs. public: Battle for Ontario’s health-care system
  1. Paul Dionne says:

    VICTIM is what becomes of the MANY MISTAKES made in PRIVATE SURGICAL CLINICS and the removal of 13 hours from MY LIFE for a 45 minute operation in a PRIVATE SURGICAL CLINIC!!! The procedure was NEVER DONE? This is why they have these places in B.C. They help to COVER UP the mistakes made in the PUBLIC SYSTEM there,most convenient is when the WORKERS COMPENSATION BOARD OF B.C. can ALLOW this to OCCUR?
    My personal experience with the Public System here years before in Ontario was at the very least I could account for every minute of my life. SOON TO BE APART OF THIS SYSTEM!.
    The worst you can imagine has OCCURRED at THIS CHOP SHOP and my many many request for the missing time and why has to this day gone UNANSWERED by both public WCB. MY MANY YEARS OF PAIN CONTINUE TO THIS DAY AND BEYOND WITHOUT ANY ACCOUNTABILITY? The SOON TO BE APART OF THIS SYSTEM IS HOW EASY THIS CAN BE DONE. CAUTION DO NOT EVER COMPLAIN THIS WILL ONLY AND MISERY TO YOUR PAINFUL existence and trying to find a health care pro in the public system.