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Limited detail on Ontario's super health agency — Peel Health

The province’s plan to create a super agency to oversee Ontario’s health system had “limited detail” on how the changes will actually impact health services in Peel, says Nancy Polsinelli, commissioner of health services for the Region of Peel.

Polsinelli provided a brief report to council on Thursday (Feb. 28) about the changes announced by Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott earlier in the week.

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Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Yesterday morning, our worst fears were confirmed. The Ontario NDP released yet more leaked documents that further reveal Doug Ford’s scheme to privatize health care services across Ontario.

Documents dating back to mid-December show plans have already been approved to shift health care services, and the public dollars that fund them, into private hands.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott addressed this latest leak at a media conference at Queen’s Park, where she was forced to admit, “what we are proposing is a massive transformation of our public health care system…”

You and I know exactly what that means: privatization.

Minister Elliott protested vehemently when questioned by reporters, saying this is not a done deal. She said the government is still listening to what Ontarians want in their health care system.

So now’s the time for us to call her on it – literally! Click the “click to call now” button below to call Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott’s office and tell her you oppose the privatization of any health care services in Ontario.

More than 500 people from across the province have already flooded Minister Elliot’s office with calls! But this bombshell news means your voice is needed now more than ever.

Click to call now

Please be sure to share this action with your friends and family too so Minister Elliott hears the message loud and clear.

Ontario needs expanded medicare, not privatization that costs more money and means less care for all of us.

Thank you for speaking up for public health care in Ontario.

Mark Calzavara
Ontario-Quebec-Nunavut Regional Organizer

PS: If you missed my message last Friday keep reading below.

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Public health care in Ontario is in serious danger.

Yesterday, the Ontario NDP revealed a leaked document from the Ford government showing that the Progressive Conservatives are preparing to privatize health care in Ontario. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott has since held a press conference and confirmed the leaked bill is authentic. The document is a draft bill, 81 pages long, titled “The Health System Efficiency Act.”

According to media reports, the Ford government plans to create a new agency that could have a mandate to privatize health care in Ontario. We can’t let this happen.

You can take action right now to stop this. Will you take a few minutes to call Health Minister Christine Elliott and tell her you oppose privatizing health care?

Click to call now

Privatization is not the answer – it leads to longer wait times, higher costs and worse care.

The PC’s secret bill would create a “Super Agency” to replace the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and give the Health Minister the power to force mergers or closures of institutions that provide health services, including hospitals, long-term care homes, community health centres and more.

This bill could lead to the creation of mega-hospitals where services would be consolidated and privatized, while smaller and more rural hospitals would close.

The Ford government has already announced a reduction in funding for hospital beds in the province, despite the fact that Ontario has the fewest number of hospital beds per capita in Canada. Ontario also funds its public hospitals at the lowest rate in Canada.

Premier Ford, who made an election promise to “end hallway medicine,” has recently been revealing his true agenda. Last fall, he appointed former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell to lead an independent inquiry into the previous Liberal government’s spending and make recommendations on “efficiencies.”

According to the Ontario Health Coalition, Mr. Campbell’s government cut and privatized hospitals and health care services in B.C. “Under his leadership, user fees for patients ballooned to the worst in the country. As a result of his policies, B.C. is ground zero for health care privatization in Canada, two-tier medicare is rampant, long waits and poor access to care exist throughout the system.”

It couldn’t be clearer: Doug Ford wants to privatize Ontario health care.

Take action – click here to call Health Minister Christine Elliott. Say no to Ford’s regressive agenda for Ontario.

Click to call now

Privatized health care won’t help you or me, and it will hurt the most sick and vulnerable people in our province.

Thank you for taking action for an Ontario that works and cares for everyone.

Sincerely,

Mark Calzavara
Ontario-Quebec-Nunavut Regional Organizer

 

 

 

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Unions and families call on federal government to remember Westray and help enforce the law

Unions and families of workers killed on the job are asking the federal government to do more to enforce laws holding employers criminally accountable for workplace death and injury. The call will be the focus of cross-Canada events marking this Friday’s National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job. The CLC is also launching an online petition atRememberWestray.ca.

This year’s Day of Mourning falls just days before the 25th anniversary of the May 9, 1992 Westray Mine explosion that claimed the lives of 26 miners working underground. Years of determined lobbying by the miners’ families and their union, the United Steelworkers, won new Criminal Code provisions in 2004 making it possible to prosecute employers for negligence leading to workplace death and injury. However, in the past 13 years, only four employers have been prosecuted under the Westray Law.

“Lack of enforcement is costing lives. Too many workplace fatalities are never properly investigated and only a handful have resulted in criminal charges,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

“We need the federal government to take the lead by bringing the provinces and territories together as soon as possible to build an urgent action plan on enforcement,” he added.
In Canada, roughly 1,000 workers die every year because of something that happened to them at work, and thousands more are seriously injured. While not every workplace fatality is caused by employer negligence, health and safety advocates say every fatality must be treated as a potential crime.

“When criminal negligence results in a worker’s death, it is a crime and should be treated that way,” said USW National Director for Canada Ken Neumann.
Christian Bruneau’s son Olivier was killed by falling ice at an Ottawa construction site in 2016. Bruneau says better enforcement would have prevented his son’s death.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if the Westray Law was being effectively enforced, no worker would have been allowed into the pit where my son was killed,” said Bruneau. “The fear of going to jail would have outweighed the quest for profits."

Allen Martin’s brother, Glenn David Martin, was one of the 26 coal miners who lost their lives in the Westray Mine explosion. He says the federal government has an opportunity to ensure that his brother – and the 25 other miners lost that day – did not die in vain.

“The Westray families don’t want to see anyone else suffering the way we have. We need the federal government to honour the memory of the men we lost by acting now to finally, and decisively, ensure enforcement of the law that is their legacy,” said Martin.

The CLC says an urgent action plan developed by federal, provincial, and territorial governments must include:
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-  training and directing Crown prosecutors to apply the Westray provisions of the Criminal Code;
- appointing dedicated prosecutors for workplace health and safety fatalities, and training and directing police to apply the Westray provisions of the Criminal Code;
- ensuring regulators, police and Crown attorneys are coordinating. Health and safety regulators must be reaching out to police when Westray charges might be warranted.

The federal government also has a responsibility to get its own house in order by:

- training its own health and safety officers to view every workplace fatality under federal jurisdiction as a potential crime scene. That includes coordinating with police in their investigations;
- ensuring the RCMP is trained and directed to consider the possibility of criminal negligence whenever a worker is killed or seriously injured on the job.


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Les syndicats et les familles demandent au gouvernement fédéral de se souvenir de Westray et d’aider à faire appliquer la loi

Les syndicats et les familles de travailleurs et travailleuses tués au travail demandent au gouvernement fédéral de faire davantage pour appliquer les lois tenant les employeurs criminellement responsables pour les décès et les blessures au travail. Cette demande sera au cœur des événements tenus partout au Canada pour le Jour de deuil national vendredi en hommage aux travailleurs et travailleuses tués ou blessés au travail. Le CTC lance également une pétition en ligne à SeSouvenirWestray.ca.

Cette année, le Jour de deuil tombe quelques jours avant le 25e anniversaire de l’explosion de la mine Westray, survenue le 9 mai 1992, qui a coûté la vie à 26 mineurs travaillant sous terre. Des années d’efforts de lobbying soutenus par les familles des mineurs et leur syndicat, le Syndicat des Métallos, ont permis d’obtenir en 2004 de nouvelles dispositions au Code criminel permettant de poursuivre les employeurs en cas de négligence entraînant la mort et des blessures au travail. Or, au cours des 13 dernières années, seulement quatre employeurs ont été poursuivis en vertu de la loi Westray.

« Le manque d’application de la loi entraîne la perte de vies. Un trop grand nombre de décès en milieu de travail ne font pas l’objet de véritables enquêtes et seulement quelques-unes ont mené au dépôt d’accusations criminelles », indique Hassan Yussuff, président du CTC.

« Le gouvernement fédéral doit jouer un rôle de leader et réunir l’ensemble des provinces et territoires dès que possible pour élaborer un plan d’action d’urgence sur l’application de la loi », a-t-il ajouté.

Au Canada, environ 1 000 travailleurs et travailleuses meurent chaque année d’une cause à leur travail, et des milliers d’autres subissent des blessures graves. Bien que tous les décès au travail ne soient pas causés par la négligence de l’employeur, les spécialistes de la santé et la sécurité indiquent que chaque décès doit être considéré comme un crime potentiel.

« Lorsque la négligence criminelle cause le décès d’un travailleur ou d’une travailleuse, c’est un crime et il doit être traité comme tel », a déclaré Ken Neumann, directeur national pour le Canada du Syndicat des Métallos.Olivier, le fils de Christian Bruneau, a été tué en 2016 par la chute d’un morceau de glace sur un chantier de construction à Ottawa. M. Bruneau dit qu’une meilleure application de la loi aurait pu éviter la mort de son fils.

« Il ne fait aucun doute dans mon esprit que si la loi Westray était appliquée correctement, aucun travailleur n’aurait pu descendre dans la fosse où mon fils a été tué », a déclaré M. Bruneau. « La peur de se retrouver en prison l’aurait emportée sur la quête de profits. »

Le frère d’Allen Martin, Glenn David Martin, était l’un des 26 mineurs de charbon décédés dans l’explosion de la mine Westray. Selon lui, le gouvernement fédéral peut faire en sorte que son frère – et les 25 autres mineurs qui ont perdu la vie ce jour-là – ne sont pas morts en vain.

« Les familles de Westray ne veulent que personne d’autre ne souffre comme nous avons souffert. Il faut que le gouvernement fédéral rende hommage aux hommes décédés en agissant dès maintenant, et de façon définitive, pour enfin veiller à l’application de la loi qui constitue leur legs », a dit M. Martin.

Le CTC affirme qu’un plan d’action d’urgence élaboré par les gouvernements fédéral, provinciaux et territoriaux doit comprendre ce qui suit :

- former et diriger les procureurs de la Couronne pour qu’ils appliquent les dispositions Westray du Code criminel;
- nommer des procureurs spécialisés lors d’accidents mortels au travail, et former et diriger les services de police pour qu’ils appliquent les dispositions Westray du Code criminel;
- s’assurer que les organismes de réglementation, la police et les procureurs de la Couronne travaillent en coordination. Les organismes de réglementation de la santé et de la sécurité doivent faire appel à la police lorsqu’il peut s’avérer justifié de porter des accusations en vertu de la loi Westray.

Le gouvernement fédéral a également la responsabilité de faire sa propre part du travail en :

- offrant une formation à ses propres agents de santé et sécurité pour qu’ils considèrent tous les décès au travail dans les secteurs relevant de la compétence fédérale comme des scènes de crime potentiel. Cela comprend la coordination avec la police dans ses enquêtes;
- s’assurant que la GRC est formée et dirigée pour examiner la possibilité de négligence criminelle à chaque fois qu’un travailleur est tué ou subit des blessures graves au travail.


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