In the launch of our third season, JP Hornick, President of OPSEU/SEFPO and Dr. Naheed Dosani, Palliative Care Physician and Health Justice Activist, discuss the current crisis facing public healthcare in Ontario and the alarming turn toward the privatization of our healthcare systems by those prioritizing profit over patients.

In speaking to the ways in which the healthcare crisis is both the result and rationale for erosion and greater privatization, JP Hornick says: “…you’ve got a kind of perfect storm that COVID maximized a crisis that was already existing. Decreased funding, unanticipated service costs, then you throw in on top of that supply-chain issues, particularly around PPE, but also, tools and resources. And then you’ve got an ongoing problem with recruitment and retention of staff. These are the new realities that hospitals have to tackle at the same time, trying to care for patients. And they’re not allowed to carry deficits. So in the absence of additional funding, it means that the choices that hospitals regularly resort to are service cuts in order to try and balance budgets.But all this comes back to a very simple thing. It is a failure to adequately fund healthcare, both before and during the pandemic. And then the deterioration of the public system that results is used as an excuse in itself for increased privatization.”

According to Dosani: “…often conversations like this can get tucked away in the category of health policy. This is about much more. This is about our way of life. This is about our way of being. This is really an attack on the common good that is so core and foundational to what it means to be Canadian…Public healthcare is a national treasure that makes us unique on the world stage. That really allows us to say to each other, I care about you.

And I care about you so much that I will pay into a collective pool with you to care for you. Even if I don’t get sick, I care for you. And that doesn’t just emanate in the healthcare world and the healthcare sphere that affects the way we treat each other. We care for each other. We communicate with each other…And that is worth saving. That is worth protecting.”

About today’s guest:

Prior to being elected president of OPSEU/SEFPO (Ontario Public Service Employees Union), JP Hornick was chief steward for more than a decade within the College Faculty Division, representing instructors at Ontario’s 24 public colleges. She chaired the College Faculty bargaining teams in 2017 and 2021-22. 

JP grew up in a family of public service workers – educators, correctional workers and many more. She is a labour educator and previously served as the coordinator of the School of Labour at George Brown College. She has served as chair, treasurer and director on several community boards and has been on the front lines of activism to advance issues of equity, women’s rights, LGBTTIQQ2S rights, anti-racism and decolonization.  

JP was elected OPSEU/SEFPO President in April 2022 on a platform that includes strengthening union democracy, building bargaining power, ensuring financial responsibility, fostering an inclusive union culture, and deepening connections to the labour movement and community. 

As a palliative care physician and health justice activist, Dr. Naheed Dosani is dedicated to advancing equitable access to healthcare for people experiencing structural vulnerabilities like poverty and homelessness. He founded the Palliative Education and Care for the Homeless (PEACH) Program at the Inner City Health Associates, serves as the Health Equity Lead at Kensington Health in downtown Toronto and provides palliative care at St. Michael’s Hospital at Unity Health Toronto. He is also an assistant professor with the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto. 

Dr. Dosani is the recipient of numerous awards including the Meritorious Service Cross for Humanitarianism from Canada’s Governor General (2018), a humanitarian award from the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (2019) and the Early Career Leader award from the Canadian Medical Association (2020). In 2022 he received an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws) from Ontario Tech University.

Transcript of this episode can be accessed at or here

Image: JP Hornick and Naheed Dosani / Used with permission.

Music: Ang Kahora. Lynne, Bjorn. Rights Purchased. 

Intro Voices: Ashley Booth (Podcast Announcer); Kenneth Okoro, Liz Campos Rico, Tsz Wing Chau. Bob Luker (Tommy Douglas quote)

Courage My Friends Podcast Organizing Committee: Chandra Budhu, Ashley Booth, Resh Budhu. 

Produced by: Resh Budhu, Tommy Douglas Institute and Breanne Doyle, 

Host: Resh Budhu. 

Needs No Introduction

A series of speeches and lectures from the finest minds of our time. Fresh ideas from speakers of note.