A group of 15 health-care workers and supporters rallied outside Barrie's Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) today to voice their displeasure over the passing of Bill 60 and what they deem as the "privatization" of health care.
On May 8, the provincial government passed Bill 60, legislation that will allow more private delivery of public health-care services.
On Wednesday, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 346 led a protest at the intersection of Georgian Drive and Gallie Court in north-end Barrie, right outside RVH, in an attempt to alert those using the facility of what they perceive to be a dangerous path for provincial health care.
“We’ve been fighting this bill from being passed, but, unfortunately, with a majority government, (Premier) Doug Ford was able to get it through,” said Elizabeth Watts, who is the president of OPSEU Local 346 and also a medical radiation technologist at the Barrie hospital.
“We’re out here now trying to spread the word that privatization is not going to lead to better outcomes like the government is promising," she added. "It will not lead to shorter wait-times, either, even though that is what the province is saying."
Watts said that one need only look at other provinces to see that the private health-care system doesn’t work.
“Alberta, B.C., Quebec have all gone down that road and they are all starting to backpedal with Quebec starting to reinvest in their public system,” she said. “What we’re saying today is let's stop this now, before it gets too far and start reinvesting in our public system immediately.”
Watts said she knows the government isn’t listening to health-care workers, who are feeling frustrated.
“I’ve not seen morale this low in the 12 years I’ve been in health care — it is really low. We come to work because we care about people who need us,” she said.
“It is mentally and physically exhausting to work in conditions where we don’t have enough staff as it is. It is demoralizing when you work so hard, especially over the last three years, and the government passes a bill that cuts your feet out from underneath you," Watts added.