An estimated 8,000 outraged Ontario residents are marching on Queen's Park in downtown Toronto today to voice their opposition against the PC government's deep and sweeping cuts to health care services across the province.
Organized by the Ontario Health Coalition, today's protest takes aim at Premier Doug Ford's plan to restructure the health care system under something called Bill 74 or "The People's Health Care Act."
"Ford's Bill 74 — a massive healthcare system overhaul that would open the door to selling off our public healthcare to private corporations — has moved into a crucial phase," explains a petition which asks that the bill be amended to prohibit private, for-profit healthcare groups.
Today is the rally to protect public health care.— CUPE Ontario (@CUPEOntario) April 30, 2019
Join the CUPE/OCHU pre-rally at 11:30am at Sick Kids Hospital, 555 University Avenue, then we'll march to Queen's Park for 12:00pm.
#stophealthprivatization #protectpublichealthcare #cupe #ochu pic.twitter.com/lVPyhnyaJ0
"The new legislation Doug Ford worked to keep secret from the public will sell vital health care services to private for-profit corporations," reads an event description for today's rally at Queen's Park. "[And] impose costly mega-mergers that put our local services and hospitals at risk... IF WE DON’T STOP IT."
Healthcare workers and supporters arrived by the busload from all over Ontario this morning to fight back against Bill 74 and other changes they fear are problematic, such as cuts to OHIP and the dissolution of all 14 of the province's Local Health Integration Networks into a single agency.
Buses are already arriving for the @OntarioHealthC march and mass rally in #Toronto that will start at 11:45am @SickKidsNews and head to Queen's Park #RallyforPublicHealthCare #onhealth More info >> https://t.co/yIvLUmaYUS pic.twitter.com/YzjwQl85X0— UHN Research (@UHN_Research) April 30, 2019
"For the first time, more than 150,000 health professionals, nurses, support workers, doctors and tens of thousands of patient advocates are joining together in a health action day, unified in their deep concern that the Ford government intends unprecedented health care privatization," wrote the Ontario Health Coalition in a statement about their widespread initiative.
"In hospitals and other health facilities tens of thousands will wear a sticker that says 'Stop Health Privatization' and will distribute leaflets warning about the Ford government's health care restructuring plans."
I'm at the health-care protest on the lawn of Queen's Park. Thousands of doctors, nurses, paramedics, etc are here to voice their opposition to Ford govt health-care legislation. #ONPoli pic.twitter.com/I1VdHg7trl— Jack Hauen (@jackhauen) April 30, 2019
Here in Toronto, protesters gathered at Sick Kids hospital before setting off for Queen's Park around noon.
They are currently on the lawn of the legislature building shouting and showing off their vibrant protest signs.
Even the famous CNE protest rat is on hand to lend its support for the cause.
Traffic has been blocked off by police in several areas surrounding Queen's Park on account of the protest.
"Blame for today's Toronto core gridlock rests squarely on Doug Ford," wrote one demonstrator. "Massive healthcare protest closed University Avenue from Bloor to College — same time same place tomorrow!"
Unfortunately for protesters, Ford himself will not be around to see the action in person. He is currently in New York City promoting Ontario as "Open for Business."
by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO