President Thomas to Health Minister: You must intervene in Owen Sound

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has sent this letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott urging her to intervene in the ongoing strike at the Owen Sound Family Health Organization.

Hon. Christine Elliott
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
80 Grosvenor St., 10th Floor
Hepburn Block
Toronto, ON, M7A 1R3

Dear Minister Elliott,

I am contacting you as the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care about an urgent issue: the unwillingness of the owners of the Owen Sound Family Health Centre (OSFHO) to guarantee high-quality care for the people in Owen Sound by bargaining a fair contract with their employees.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the OSFHO owners receive public health care money.  But as private, for-profit businesses, they currently face no public oversight or transparency about the quality or professionalism of their operation or employees.

I was shocked to learn yesterday, for example, that the OSFHO owners plan to completely eliminate nursing positions at the clinic, leaving vital issues of care and patient confidentiality in the hands of workers who aren’t governed by professional health colleges.

As Health Minister and Deputy Premier of a government that values transparency, accountability, and high-quality health care, I urge you to intervene in this dispute. The people of Owen Sound deserve to know that the public money being given to the owners of OSFHO is actually being spent on quality health care.

I also would call on you to launch an audit of for-profit clinics across Ontario.  In the case of Owen Sound, taxpayer dollars that are supposed to be devoted for health care have been channeled to high-priced Toronto lawyers and private security firms.  We don’t know how other clinics spend their money but where there is smoke, there is often fire.


Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

Hon. France Gélinas, Official Opposition Health Critic
OPSEU Executive Board
Jill McIllwraith, Chair of OPSEU’s Health Care Divisional Council
Lucy Morton, Chair of OPSEU’s Community Health Care Professionals Sector
Jennifer Higgins, Assistant to the President, OPSEU