This National Medical Laboratory Week, Public Health Ontario Lab workers are sounding the alarm – rural families are at risk!


Next Wednesday, OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick and members working at Public Health Ontario (PHO) Labs will join NDP MPPs Jamie West and Monique Taylor for a news conference at Queen’s Park to sound the alarm about the potential closure of six (6) out of 11 PHO labs in Ontario, and the risk it poses for rural families and communities.

PHO currently has a plan to close the laboratory sites in Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Orillia, Hamilton, Kingston, and Peterborough as part of its ‘modernization plan’. In December 2023, the Auditor General endorsed this plan and recommended that the labs be closed within 12 months.

Combined, these labs collect and process thousands of water samples and time-sensitive medical tests each day. They are integral to our public health infrastructure in Ontario.

The closure of these 6 community-based PHO labs will increase health inequities and endanger rural families and communities. It will also undermine our ability to detect and prevent the spread of disease and compromise our response to future health crises.

Workers at the affected lab sites and members of their communities launched a petition campaign to stop the closures and will deliver thousands of signatures to Queen’s Park. The event coincides with National Medical Laboratory Week, where we recognize the important role these professionals have in promoting the health and safety of everyone in Ontario.