Health care super agency is Ford’s ‘ultimate betrayal’: OPSEU

“Shuffling bureaucratic deck chairs won’t help patients. The Ford plan is taking a heavy-handed, top-down approach that will take billions of health care dollars from frontline patient care.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

Toronto (26 Feb. 2019) — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), says that the government’s highly secretive health care super agency is Ford’s ultimate betrayal, and it’s sure to throw health care into crisis.

No commitment to public health care in Ontario announcement

“Today’s announcement is just more slogans, and no substance,” said Thomas. “It’s a lot of doublespeak, and it raises more questions than answers about the Ford government’s plan for health care.”  

Thomas says he doesn’t buy Christine Elliott’s commitment to have no additional private health care.

“Why would anyone believe them?” said Thomas. “Look at today’s announcement, it’s clearly a back-of-napkin response to last week’s government document leak and the Lisa MacLeod scandal. They’re scrambling and it spells disaster for patient care."

“I have news for the Premier,” said Thomas. “Your bungling of the children with autism file has brought attention to your government’s corruption and incompetence. The people have no confidence that you are anywhere near capable of effectively revamping our public health care system. So hands off our health care.”

Ford breaks promises on no job losses

Despite Ford’s campaign promise that there would be no public sector job losses, the opposite has come true, Thomas said. Ford’s closure of Ontario’s Child Advocate office has resulted in dozens of layoffs, and recent changes to autism programs could also lead to huge job losses. Thomas predicts that the Conservatives have a plan for massive job cuts in the health sector too.  

“Shuffling bureaucratic deck chairs won’t help patients,” said Thomas. “The Ford plan is taking a heavy-handed, top-down approach that will take billions of health care dollars from frontline patient care.”

“The government’s plan to create a super agency that will control 5 regional agencies and 30 to 50 local teams is nothing more than another way to reward Ford’s cronies,” said Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer.

“I wonder how many high-paying patronage jobs they’ll be doling out to their wealthy friends and donors?” asked Almeida. “Once again, patients and the people come last.”

Who did Conservatives consult with before announcing 'plan'?

Thomas is also shaking his head over the fact that OPSEU/NUPGE, which represents tens of thousands of crucial frontline health care workers, was never consulted about these changes.

“Our members are the backbone of the public sector, and as frontline workers, we know what is needed," said Thomas. “We need more frontline care and frontline staff, not another round of costly restructuring. I have no idea who Ford is consulting with, but it certainly isn’t health care experts."

“This is another reason that the Tory caucus needs to take back their party and start showing they’re actually ‘for the people,'" Thomas said. 

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE