The Healthcare Privatization Creep

Ford Conservatives are slicing and dicing our public services so big business can make a quick buck

ETOBICOKE – After four years in government, the Ford Conservatives’ playbook on healthcare remains the same: starve public services with cuts, then call on the private sector to fix it.

“The Ford Conservatives are slicing and dicing our public health system and handing it over to private interests,” said Lee Fairclough, the Ontario Liberal candidate for Etobicoke—Lakeshore and a former hospital president. “From COVID-19 testing to nursing homes, the Ford Conservatives are putting corporate profits first, leaving our public health care facilities understaffed and struggling.”

The new Ontario Liberal team includes doctors, nurses and hospital leaders, who have experienced Doug Ford’s privatization creep firsthand. Candidates gathered today to highlight the two-year closure of Queensway’s Urgent Care Centre, which has remained closed since March 2020 despite a mounting backlog of desperately needed surgeries. At the same time, the Ford Conservatives have opened the door to a greater role for private hospitals in delivering surgeries.

An Ontario Liberal government will reject this approach and ensure public hospitals like Queensway’s Urgent Care Centre – not profiteering corporations – are delivering surgeries.

“Doug Ford appointed a long-term care minister that spent a decade advocating for private care. His own health minister opened the door to a bigger role for private hospitals,” said Dr. Nathan Stall, the Ontario Liberal candidate for Toronto—St. Paul’s. “From day one, the Ford Conservatives have set hospitals up to fail, to the detriment of the doctors, nurses, and frontline workers who carry the public system on their shoulders.”

“The pandemic has underscored just how important our public healthcare system is, and the grave, life-or-death risk posed by Conservative cuts,” said Dr. Adil Shamji, the Ontario Liberal candidate in Don Valley East. “Ontario Liberals passionately believe that government should be there to help people when they need it most. We will be relentless in the fight to ensure universal public healthcare – rather than profit-motivated business – is strengthened.”

The Ford Conservatives have also championed Bill 175 – which gutted homecare – and Bill 124, which deprived healthcare heroes of the pay they deserved.

Key facts

  • The Ford Conservatives have been increasing the role of private healthcare clinics related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing. They also strictly limited public testing, forcing Ontarians to choose between paying for-profit companies for tests or going without, risking spreading the virus.
  • In July 2021, the Ford Conservatives diverted $24 million-worth of public funding to for-profit clinics for surgical and diagnostic services and committed to licensing new for-profit clinics.
  • In 2020, the three largest for-profit long-term care chains gave their investors over $230 million in dividends. Instead of expressing outrage, the Ford Conservatives gave Ontario’s largest private LTC operators another $90 million.
  • According to the Ontario Health Coalition, more than half of the 30,000 new long-term care beds the Ford Conservatives promised will be set aside for private operators.
  • Before the pandemic, less than 6% of nurses left the profession each year. Today, that’s more than doubled to 15%.

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