On May 5th, 2016 a Town Hall Meeting was held at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 25 to introduce a provincial call to action on Health Care funding. The Sault & Area Health Coalition (SAHC), together with the Ontario Health Coalition hosted an evening to outline the urgency with which systemic and ongoing health care funding cuts to Ontario hospitals is fracturing every limb in direct care within hospitals.
“We are here to raise awareness and speak out about systematic hospital and health care concerns in our community.” said Folgo Della Vedova, Past President, SAHC. “To put pressure on the Ontario Government to stop serious financial cuts to hospital services.”
“Ontario has dropped to last place in Canada in hospital funding. We are now in the ninth year of real-dollar cuts to global hospital budgets. Patients are paying the price; They are being left on stretchers in hallways, surgeries are being cancelled and vital health services are being privatized or subject to user fees.” said Margo Dale, SAHC Coalition Chair.
The Ontario Health Coalition launched a provincial wide referendum in mid- May. Mill Market was the official launch location for The Sault & area on May 14th.
The Referendum reads: ‘Ontario’s government must stop the cuts to our community hospitals and restore services, funding and staff to meet our communities’ needs for care.’ Answer: Yes or No.
On Monday May 16th, City of Sault Ste. Marie Municipal Councillor (Ward 6) Joe Krmpotich shared information about the Referendum to Mayor and Council. Members of the local health coalition were at City Hall’s Council Chambers for the reading of the Referendum into Council minutes.
“We have worked with Joe Krmpotich in the past, and he has always been very supportive of the work of The Health Coalition.” said Margot Dale.
In a letter to Mayor and Council, Dale said: “We thank you for this opportunity to ask for your help in what we believe is an urgent matter in our city.
Health is a main component of the quality of life of every person, every family and our whole community. Everyone in the community has or will at some time need the services at our hospital for themselves, a family member, a relative or a friend.
The Sault Ste. Marie and Area Health Coalition belongs to the Ontario Health Coalition. We are grass roots citizen groups in many cities across Ontario dedicated to protecting and improving public health care for all the people of Ontario.
We know that the citizens of Ontario have major concerns about our local hospitals. Together, we can effect change.”
“This is the type of action that a government will ignore at their peril. It’s the kind of action that changes (gov’t) policy. We know that the vast majority of Ontario citizens share our concerns for hospital funding There’s no end in sight.” shared OHC’s Executive Director Natalie Mehra at the Town Hall. “Ontario’s overall funding for hospitals has been vying for last place in all of Canada.” Quebec has that dubious distinction.
In a letter dated May 25th,2016, OHC’s Exec. Director said, “This grassroots volunteer-led referendum is asking Ontarians to vote to let the government know whether we want the devastating cuts to our local community hospitals to continue, or whether we want them to stop. Entire community hospitals are on the line. Services like birthing; emergency departments; medical and surgical beds; mental health units; chronic care beds; surgeries and diagnostic tests; and thousands of nurses, health professionals, caregivers, and vital patient support workers and all the work they do — all of these are threatened with cuts in different communities ”
- Sault Ste. Marie Referendum Locations/Times
- Food Basics -Trunk Road May 28 10-4
- Food Basics -Pine street May 28 10-4
- Market Mall -Rick’s Outlet May 28 10-4
- No Frills -Second Line May 28 10-4
- Restore -Second Line May 28 10-4
- Station Mall -Madonna Optical May 28 10-4
- Market Mall- Rick’s Outlet May 28 10-4
- Trading Post – May 27 10-4 and May 28 10-4
- Mill Market May 28 7:30-2
- Lock City Dairy May 28 12-4
- Reggies Queen St May 28 10-4
- Reggies west May 28 10-4
- Opseu Office (beside C.A.A.) May 28 10-4 (Great Northern Road)
- Uniform Office (across from hospital) May 28 10-4
- Restore- 2nd line May 28 10-4
- Indian Friendship Centre –East St. May 27 Centre hours
- Zone – Goulais River May 28 10-4
- Moose lodge May 27 4-7
- Brookfield Minimart – 2nd Line W. May 27 1-5
- Krazy Ernie’s – McNabb St. May 27 12-4
May 28th is the provincial wide Referendum Day. Results will be shared locally via media release on May 30th. Once the provincial numbers are gathered, the Referendum ballots will be brought to the Ontario legislature on Tuesday, May 31st. Saultonline will continue to share the story.
The OHC represents over 400 member organizations, local health coalitions, including seniors groups, unions, health professionals and more. The mandate is to protect and improve the public health care system striving for universal health care, that is public, comprehensive, accessible, and portable.
To read previous articles: CLICK HERE