On September 9, Rankandfile.ca visited the picket lines in Kingston, Ontario outside the Providence Care mental health hospital where 70 healthcare workers – or 1/5 of the workforce – are being laid off. We interviewed nurses, paramedics, anti-poverty activists and union officials. This is what we found:
Organized by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), the rally’s participants exposed the Ontario Liberal government’s efforts to build a new P3 hospital in Kingston while cutting $6 million at Providence Care, and slashing ambulance services. The cuts in Kingston are part of a province-wide restructuring of healthcare that centrally involves P3 projects.
P3s are “Public-Private Partnerships” in which government outsources aspects of a project to a for-profit company. Outsourcing can involve construction, maintenance and even staffing. These contracts often span decades. The result is millions in public money being handed over to profit-driven private companies. These are in effect government-sanctioned private monopolies. The experience of P3 hospitals in Ontario is weaker healthcare and greater costs to the public.
For more about Ontario’s P3 privatization of healthcare, check out this fact sheet by the Canadian Health Coalition.