This week on the show, rabble contributor Doreen Nicoll interviews Natalie Mehra, the executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition.
The Ontario Health Coalition is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest activist coalition and network whose primary goal is to protect and improve Ontario’s public health care system. The coalition works to protect the health system from threats like cuts, delisting and privatization.
This is partly done by raising public awareness about Ontario’s current healthcare systems programs and services. This includes long-term care homes.
During the height of COVID-19, the average death rate in these private, for-profit care homes was 5.7%. Compare that to non-profit long term care homes – which saw 2.8%. Lower again at 1.4% for municipal facilities.
Currently, 60% of Ontario’s long-term care homes are private, for-profit. And despite these private care homes being notoriously understaffed, failing inspections, and responsible for the deaths of thousands of Canadians during COVID-19, the Ford government has just issued 30-year licenses and expansions for 18,000 additional LTC beds for private long-term care homes.
All the while, public funding for health care in Ontario is the lowest in the country.
Ahead of the Ontario election, Mehra is hoping the privatization of the province’s long-term care homes becomes a key issue.
“What’s happening in Ontario should be a blight on all our consciences,” Mehra tells Nicoll. “We have to win this one. This is our chance to do it. Let’s make [the government] accountable for what’s happened so far, and let’s win real change this time.”
If you’d like to learn more about how to support the Ontario Health Coalition’s campaign to end privatization in long-term care homes, please visit their website at ontariohealthcoalition.ca. You can also check out Nicoll’s piece on rabble.ca this week.
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