Thunder Bay healthcare workers call on hospital to reject privatization and help defend public system

Front-line hospital workers from Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre delivered a petition to hospital management today, calling on the hospital president to take a stand against the provincial government’s plan to privatize hospital services.

The action was part of a demonstration of healthcare workers organized by a coalition of five healthcare unions held outside the hospital in response to Bill 60. The recently passed Conservative government legislation diverts money from public hospitals to private, for-profit clinics to perform surgeries and other procedures. Hospital staff say this Ontario PC plan would devastate the services in most of Ontario’s public hospitals, including Thunder Bay Regional’s and threaten public healthcare.

The petition was signed by a majority of the unionized healthcare staff, including nurses, personal support workers, housekeepers, lab technologists, clerical staff and others, represented by the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO) and SEIU Healthcare.

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre workers are demanding management join their call for investments towards higher staffing levels, and a meaningful recruitment and retention strategy, to improve patient care and help clear the surgical backlog that Ford is using as an excuse for privatization.

Since the provincial government’s push to privatize hospital services and bring in for-profit clinics was made public, members of ONA, Service Employees International Union (SEIU Healthcare), CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE), Unifor and OPSEU/SEFPO have all launched campaigns at public hospitals. This is the fourth in a series of such rallies being organized across the province.


“The Ford government is intentionally underspending on healthcare by $21.3-billion, yet they’re sitting on $22 billion in ‘excess’ funds. They are ushering in privatization as a solution to a crisis they’ve manufactured, and we will all pay the price. Ford’s scheme is a slap in the face to every healthcare worker and every Ontarian, and we are here today to stand up together and say enough!” – JP Hornick, President of OPSEU/SEFPO

“As front-line healthcare workers, we know that we can deliver the best care in the world – but only if we have fully-funded, publicly-delivered hospital care. Nurses are burnt out and fed up – and also united. Together, healthcare workers are calling on this hospital administration to stand alongside its workforce to oppose private healthcare – it’s time to stand united against this government and corporate greed. Nurses and healthcare professionals are fed up.” – Erin Ariss, RN, Provincial President, Ontario Nurses’ Association

“The people who run our hospitals need to cut Doug Ford’s puppet-strings and start listening to listen to the people on the frontline of care. Stop privatization that takes profits out of the system and start supporting the nurses and healthcare workers who are working dangerous, understaffed jobs in our hospitals. Our tax dollars should go to staffing frontline care to reduce wait times, not into the pockets of wealthy investors who want to defund our public hospitals.” – Jackie Walker, SEIU Nursing Division President

“I talk to dozens of Ontarians every week about the privatization of their health services. Absolutely no one wants their tax dollars going to health corporation profits.” Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director

“Hospital workers across Ontario are sending a strong message to their management and the government – we will not accept the privatization of hospital services. We will continue fighting to improve our public health care system, in solidarity with each other and our communities. Public funds should be used for our public system – not to enrich private corporations and their shareholders.” – Sharon Richer, Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).

For more information, please contact:

Sheree Bond, ONA Communications,
Kim Johnston, OPSEU/SEFPO Communications,, 416-550-4665
Hamid Osman, Unifor Communications,, 647-448-2823
Corey Johnson, SEIU Healthcare Communications,, 416-529-8909