Conservative premiers will bring in American-style health care if we don’t stop them, say labour federation presidents

Provincial labour federations join the plea to PM to invest and save Canada’s public health care

The presidents of provincial labour federations are putting pressure on the federal government to step up their contributions to public health care and protect Canada’s public system from Conservative right-wing provincial privatization schemes.

Through letters to Prime Minister Trudeau, on behalf of workers across their provinces, federation presidents call for improvements to the capacity of our publicly-funded and publicly-delivered health-care system. This comes in response to some provincial governments throwing open the door to private, for-profit health services – funneling public dollars into the pockets of private corporations and their shareholders by outsourcing medical procedures that will further burden the public system with more costly and complicated care requirements.

“Care workers have been dealing with the Sask. Party’s mismanagement of the pandemic for over two years, said SFL President Lori Johb. “They have been doing a phenomenal job under these circumstances, but are under immense pressure to deliver care with inadequate resources. The Sask. Party has already privatized parts of our health system that have done nothing to reduce wait times. More privatization will only drain resources away from the public system and make the situation care workers are facing even worse.”

We must recognize that the pandemic has highlighted several weaknesses in our care system. The solution to filling these gaps and shortcomings in our public system is sustainable, appropriate funding and better planning, not duplicating services in a private shadow system. Private clinics are in direct conflict with the pride that Canadians feel when we talk about our universal, quality public health-care system.

“Our public health system is world class, thanks to the workers who, against all odds, deliver quality health care despite the pressures they face,” said Johb. “Without the people trained and prepared to deliver the care, our system would collapse.”

Health care workers provide so much to people, the emotional and social support needed when facing illness. Labour representatives are also desperately asking for a national workforce plan to address the critical staff shortages that have been exasperated by COVID-19. We must ensure that all money coming from the federal government is invested into our public health system and stop those who want to undermine it and profit from it. Using public funds for private services violates the Canadian Health Act but recent attacks show us we must be vigilant in protecting our public health care.