Citizens hold vote on hospital privatization

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Local volunteers with the Ontario Health Coalition have been out in the community promoting a citizen-led referendum with the hope of pressuring the provincial government to halt steps toward privatization in healthcare.

The Ontario Health Coalition’s province wide referendum campaign includes an online vote throughout the month of May and physical polling stations in Stayner on May 26 and 27 to vote on the question: Do you want our public hospital services to be privatized to for profit hospitals and clinics? Yes or No.

“Now that Bill 60 has passed, our job at the Ontario Health Coalition is to do everything in our power to stop its implementation,” said executive director Natalie Mehra in a press release. “We have to make it politically impossible for the Ford government to privatize our public hospitals., To do this, we are mounting a massive People’s Referendum. We have set an ambitious goal of a million votes to save our local public hospitals.”

In Clearview Township, Jillian Ives is leading the charge. She is a third- generation health care practitioner and said, as a therapist who worked with marginalized people and the daughter of beloved local doctor Bill Ives, whose father and son also had long careers in rural medicine, she believes there is a lot to protect when it comes to public healthcare in Ontario.

She said the data shows that access to universal health care results in an a healthier population overall.

“I am very motivated to keep people in a position where they can get good care,” said Ives. When it came out I was kind of irritated but I didn’t understand that really they are using our taxpayer funded pool of money to pay for-profit [medical practitioners] rather than taking that money and putting it back into the public system.”

The Ontario Health Coalition says public hospitals in Ontario have the lowest funding in Canada, and the fewest nurses per patient. It is calling on the government to restore funding to operating rooms that are closed at certain times due to underfunding in order to shorten some of the waitlists for procedures that have been delayed due to the pandemic.

The coalition says, “for over a century people in communities across Ontario funded and built their local public hospitals and our government responded 70 years ago by creating a public hospital system in the first place. It is also one of the reasons that privatehospitals have been banned since 1973 (with some pre-existing clinics like Shouldice Hospital being grandfathered.)

Ives said people may not be aware that admission to a private hospital is not a sure thing and that people with risk factors may be directed to a public hospital, where the waiting list could end up being even longer.

Ives hopes people will consider the issue from a community perspective as opposed to individualism. “What I find in talking to people is that they are looking at it from a very personal perspective,” she said. “There are many problems with our healthcare system, don’t get me wrong, and I know these things need to be addressed, but I don’t think we fix them by taking the money and giving it to for-profit.”

The data shows that the rhetoric about shortening wait times won’t benefit everyone and that a two-tier system can result in longer waits, reduced quality of care, and higher costs, said Ives.

Polling station will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 26 and 27 at the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd, 219 Scott St., Stayner, and Centennial United Church, 234 William St, Stayner.

Online voting is open until May 31 at Anyone who has any issue voting online is welcome to contact the Ontario Health Coalition at 416-441-2502 or

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Showing 2 comments
  • Shamim Tejoar

    Is there a possibility to vote on line?
    If so how can I do it?

    • Trina Berlo

      Online voting is open until May 31 at

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