Message to First Ministers: Privatization Will Make Health Care Worse

February 5 2023

Majority of Canadians say that privatization won’t fix the health care crisis.

Ottawa (05 Feb 2023) — In anticipation of a First Ministers meeting this week, the 425,000 members of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) have a clear message: Abandon for-profit schemes in health care – Canadians want more investment in public health care, more funding, and more workers. The federal government must not allow provinces to use the health care crisis to undermine the Canada Health Act and expand privatization.

“Anyone who tells you privatization will fix our health care system is simply ignoring the facts,” says Bert Blundon, NUPGE President. “Report after report has said that privatization ends up costing more, hurts quality, and is unaccountable to those who rely on it.”

Poll confirms strong majority against privatization


This poll confirms that Canadians are opposed to privatization, even in the face of severe problems created by underfunding, mismanagement, and shifting priorities

Bert Blundon, NUPGE President

recent poll, conducted by Abacus Data, on behalf of NUPGE, said that 89% of Canadians agree that health care should be universal and based on people’s needs. People are genuinely concerned about the expansion of for-profit private health care in our system.

  • 77% believe that increasing jobs in the for-profit health sector will lead to an exodus of workers,  putting further strain on an overburdened public system.
  • 75% believe that the loss of workers to for-profit clinics will create further strain on workers and the system, leading to reduced availability of services and reduced ability to provide quality services in the public system.
  • 68% said that a 2-tier system means wealthy people will have a great health care system while middle- and lower-income people will be stuck with worse services.

“We are hearing loud and clear that Canadians do not want to hand over our public health care system to those who want to make a profit off of people who need care,” Blundon continues. “When it comes to privatization, people are against the wealthy buying their way to the front of the line.

For-profit health provides dramatically worse care for patients

“Contrary to the PM’s recent comments, privatization is not an innovation. After everything we learned during the pandemic, we need the federal government to prevent the expansion of a for-profit model in our health care system and actually invest in public health care,” said Blundon.

“The First Ministers need to listen to Canadians who are worried that with the huge shortage of health care workers, any health care worker poached to the for-profit system would be making a bad situation much worse,” said Jason MacLean, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer.

“We need the federal government to enforce the Canada Health Act and prevent the expansion of for-profit care in Canada. Bringing long-term care under the Canada Health Act and committing to universal pharmacare would be 2 strong steps forward. The federal government must increase funding, so it keeps up with rising costs, ensuring that federal funds are spent on public health care where they are needed most. That means creating more positions and hiring more health care workers decent wages to reduce the strain on the frontline workers,” continued MacLean.

Crisis of premiers own making

“Any announcement by the Prime Minister and Premiers, without these conditions, is unacceptable. We are demanding that the Prime Minister do what’s right and push back on those premiers who are undermining our health care system using a crisis of their own making,” concluded Blundon.

For further information: Anil Naidoo, NUPGE National Representative, or 613.986.5409