Health Care Divisional Council: OPSEU provides TV support for Kingston P3 plebiscite campaign


The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is supporting the Kingston community plebiscite campaign by sponsoring a new television commercial to air over the next two weeks on CKWS-TV.

Produced with the Kingston Health Coalition, the commercial urges community members to vote April 13 on whether or not they want the proposed new psychiatric/rehab hospital to remain fully public.

Ontario is using the controversial public-private partnership model to replace the aging St. Mary’s Of The Lake and Providence Care hospitals. That means the hospital will be designed, built, financed and maintained for 30 years by a private for-profit consortium.

“At a time when the government is telling us they have no money we can’t understand why the Wynne government would want to proceed with a far more expensive method of replacing these hospitals,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the 130,000 member OPSEU.

When the Auditor General of Ontario looked at Brampton’s William Osler Health Centre privatization in 2008, he concluded that the higher rate of interest paid by the private sector added about $200 million to the cost of the project. He also noted that $28 million in transaction costs were added as a result of using the P3 method. Both of these issues would be factors in the decision to build the new Kingston hospital.

OPSEU has also done the only study of its kind in Canada looking at the impact of P3s on the day-to-day functioning of a public hospital. Examining the Royal Ottawa Health Centre a year after it opened as a P3, the OPSEU reports noted additional costs to clinical budgets and frustration among workers who have little control over their physical environment.