The recently formed Grey Bruce Health Coalition is an affiliate of the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), a non profit, nonpartisan organization representing over 400 local volunteer coalitions in Ontario. This organization has been advocating for public healthcare in Ontario for over 40 years. This week the OHC has announced its intention to hold a province-wide citizen’s referendum on the issue of public or private health care on Friday May 26 and Saturday May 27. More than a thousand voting stations will be open across Ontario, including in Grey and Bruce Counties.
The Ford government recently announced its plan to significantly expand the privatization of surgeries and diagnostics and to replace public health care facilities and services with for-profit clinics and hospitals. Bill 60 has been brought forward to facilitate this plan. The government has used their majority to vote down all amendments to the legislation and to pass this bill. It is noteworthy that citizens of Ontario have never had any say over this plan to privatize hospitals and health care services. In fact, during the 2022 election campaign, conservative candidates said that they would not do this. Then, two months after the election, they announced they would move forward with the privatization of our public hospitals’ services.
The OHC referendum question is straightforward: Do you want our public hospital services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics? “Yes” or “No”.
Those 16 years of age and older will be able to vote in polls near their homes or during the month of May they will be able to vote online at PublicHospitalVote.ca. Poll locations in communities are presently being confirmed and a list will be made available by the beginning of the May. There will also be an opportunity for some to vote in portable polls at community events and in workplace polls during May.
To promote participation in the vote Grey Bruce Health Care volunteers will be distributing leaflets and lawn signs in the coming weeks. The local Coalition will also hold a Town Hall through Zoom for residents of Grey and Bruce Counties on Thursday, May 4th at 7 pm. Specific information for signing up will be available soon.
Locally, the Grey Bruce Health Coalition is recruiting volunteers to help deliver signs and leaflets, help identify potential poll locations and to operate the polls on the days of the vote. Those interested in volunteering can call 519-375-5812 or 519-477-3513 or send an email to: email@example.com.