Category Archives: Ontario Health Coalition

Author Linda McQuaig and Economist Hugh Mackenzie confirmed for OHC Action Assembly.

The Ontario Health Coalition has confirmed that author Linda McQuaig and economist Hugh Mackenzie will be among featured speakers at their two day Action Assembly and Conference in Toronto November 19-20.

The Action Assembly sets the agenda for the work of the coalition for the coming year. Each year an associated one-day conference provides for more in-depth discussion on key health care issues.

McQuaig is author of eight books on politics and economics – all national bestsellers – including Shooting the Hippo (short-listed for the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction), The Cult of Impotence, All You Can Eat, It’s the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planet, and Holding the Bully’s Coat: Canada and the U.S. Empire. Her most recent book, co-authored with Neil Brooks, is The Trouble With Billionaires.

Mackenzie has worked for 35 years in a variety of public policy roles at all three levels of government. He is the Chair fo the Atkinson Charitable Foundation and a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He is a frequent contributor to opinion pages on issues related to public finance.

On Sunday speakers include Taylor Chelsea (Occupy Toronto), Hugh Armstrong (Council on Aging), Winnie Ng (Sam Gindin Chair at Ryerson University), Diane Dowling (National Farmer’s Union) and Maureen O’Reilly (Toronto Public Library).

OPSEU members who are active in their local health coalition do qualify for assistance to attend this event. Please contact for more information.

Ontario Health Coalition annual assembly November 19-20

Safeguarding public health care will be the theme of the Ontario Health Coalition’s annual assembly in Toronto on November 19-20. This year’s assembly will be taking place at the Sheraton Centre, located across the street from Toronto’s city hall.

The annual assembly is an opportunity for local groups to come and share their experiences as well as to set the agenda for the provincial coalition’s work in the coming year. The Ontario Health Coalition is a broad-based coalition of community and labour groups dedicated to protecting our public Medicare system.

The recent provincial election provided a clear warning that health care providers are about to soon face significant austerity. That includes a Drummond Commission which is anticipated to recommend more privatization of public heatlh care delivery.

In a pre-election report, the Auditor General of Ontario warned that the proposed limits to the rate of increase in health care spending will lead to hospital deficits or significant cuts to services. This could mean your job.

The health assembly is also an opportunity to celebrate the work of coalition members. In the past this has included a number of OPSEU members. Both the Daniel Benedict Award for activism and the Ethel Meade Award for research will be presented.

Registration for the assembly is set on a sliding scale from $0 to $35 per day. OPSEU members active in their local health coalitions are eligible for support to come to this meeting.  Please contact for more details.

The Ontario Health Coalition has arranged to have a block of rooms set aside at the nearby Bond Place Hotel. These rooms can be booked at a special Ontario Health Coalition rate of $82 per night and can be reserved by calling 1-800-268-9390. The Bond Place Hotel is located nearby just across Dundas Square.  To book, go to

What took us so long? Time to occupy Bay Street

It took weeks before the mainstream media paid attention, now the Occupy Wall Street movement is rapidly taking up root in cities across the world, including plans for an occupation of Toronto’s Bay Street beginning October 15.

Author and activist Naomi Klein recently visited the New York occupation. In copies of her speech handed out to protestors, she notes that while the TV pundits are baffled about why citizens are protesting, people around the world are asking ‘what took you so long?’

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Looking for an all-candidate meeting?

The Ontario Health Coalition has organized a series of all-candidate forums across the province. Find one near you!

TODAY: St Catharines
Tuesday, September 20th at 7pm
Port Dalhousie Legion, 600 Ontario St

TODAY: Guelph
In association with the Guelph Wellington Coalition for Social Justice
Tuesday, September 20th at 7:30pm
Italian Canadian Club, 135 Ferguson St

Friday, September 23rd at 7pm
Market Hall, 140 Charlotte St
Note: The date of this meeting has recently changed from Wednesday September 21st to Friday September 23rd. Please make note of this as the previous date was already published.

Tuesday, September 27th at 7pm
Welland Lion’s Hall, 414 River Road

Niagara Falls
Thursday, September 22nd at 7pm
Gale Centre, 4171 Fourth Ave

London North
Tuesday, September 27th at 7pm to 10 pm,
A.B. Lucas Secondary School, 656 Tennent Avenue
Parking on Street

Tuesday, September 27th at 7pm
Oak’s Inn, 80 McNaughton Ave, Wallaceburg

In association with the RNAO
Tuesday, October 4th at 7pm
Grace United Church, 581 Howden St

Thursday, Sept. 22nd at 7 pm
D. Roy Kennedy Public School, 919 Woodroffe Avenue

In partnership with Canadian Association of Retired People
Thursday September 27th at 6:30 pm
Belleville Fish and Game Club, 170 Elmwood Drive, Belleville.
Focus to be on seniors’ health issues.

Thursday September 29th at 7:00 pm
Regent Theatre, 224 Picton Main Street

Wednesday September 21st at 7:00 pm
North Kingston Community Health Center, 400 Elliot Avenue
Focusing on women’s health issues.

In Association with the Health Care Providers of Leeds and Grenville
Tuesday September 27 at 4:30pm,
Brockville Arts Centre

Thousands march on Queen’s Park to protect health care

TORONTO – September 13 labour and community groups stood up for health care, marching past Toronto’s “hospital row” and rallying on the lawn of the Ontario legislature.

Singing, dancing and remembering those who died unnecessarily — speakers vowed to make politicians accountable during this election.

Sponsored by the Ontario Health Coalition, buses brought activists from across the province to the rally. A moment of silence was observed for those who had recently died during Ontario’s C Difficle outbreak.

OPSEU 2nd Vice-President Nancy Pridham was among labour leaders who joined community activists on the speaker’s podium.

To watch a five minute video of the two-hour event, click on the box below. And please share!

Video: Leaders speak about the importance of Sept 13

OPSEU 1st VP/Treasurer Eddy Almeida joins Sharleen Stewart (President, SEIU Local 1 Canada), Luis Rodrigues (VP, OCHU/CUPE), Andy Summers (Regional VP, ONA) and Natalie Mehra (Director, Ontario Health Coalition) to speak about the importance of coming out September 13 to support health care.

The Ontario Health Coalition is holding a rally at Queen’s Park at noon on September 13. Buses are departing from across Ontario to show support for public health care.

September 13 Buses

September 13 stand up for health care

Get involved – Local health coalition meetings in your region

The Ontario Health Coalition links up citizen groups and labour organizations across the province. Local coalitions are directly involved in their communities, often playing a watchdog role and advocating for better access and quality of services. Many are presently planning all-candidate forums in advance of the October 6 provincial election.

Some OPSEU locals are already involved. Others may want to attend a meeting in their community and get more involved. It’s an opportunity to share perspectives and build links between those who provide care and members of the community who are looking to protect and enhance health care services.

Many OPSEU locals also voluntarily donate money to support the work of the Ontario Health Coalition.

The following are meetings scheduled for August and September:

Ottawa Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Thursday, August 18 at 7 pm
Dovercourt Recreation Centre, 411 Dovercourt Ave.

Thunder Bay Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Monday, August 22 at 7 pm
Brodie Library Community Room, 216 Brodie St South

Welland – Public Consulation and Forum on Health System Restructuring
Monday, August 22nd 6:30-8:30pm
Welland Civic Square, 60 East Main St

Port Colborne – Public Consulation and Forum on Health System Restructuring
Tuesday, August 23rd 6:30-8:30pm
Royal Canadian Legion, 67 Clarence St

Durham Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Tuesday, August 23rd at 7 pm
CAW 222 Hall, 1425 Phillip Murray Ave, Oshawa

Niagara Falls – Public Consulation and Forum on Health System Restructuring
Wednesday, August 24th 6:30-8:30pm
Royal Canadian legion, 3860 Legion St

St Catharines – Public Consulation and Forum on Health System Restructuring
Thursday, August 24th 6:30-8:30pm
Royal Canadian Legion, 111 Church St

London Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Tuesday, Aug 30th at 7 pm
CAW local 27 Hall, 606 First St (Oxford St East /First St)

Peterborough Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Wednesday, August 31 at 4 pm
Labour Council Office, 246 Romaine St

Windsor Essex Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Wednesday, August 31st at 4:30pm
CAW 195/2458 Hall, 3400 Somme Ave

Toronto – Parkdale Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Wednesday, August 31st at 6:30 pm
Parkdale Library, 1303 Queen St East

Brampton Health Coalition – Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, September 7 at 7 pm
Jim Archdekin Recreation Centre, 292 Conestoga Dr

Northumberland Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Wednesday, September 7th at 6pm **date tentative**
Cobourg Library, 200 Ontario St

Ottawa Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Thursday, September 15th at 7:15 pm
Dovercourt Recreation Centre Portables, 411 Dovercourt Ave.

Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition – Regular Meeting
Tuesday, September 27th
Grace United Church, 990 Cathcart Blvd

New site allows Ontarians to define health care issues

The Ontario Health Coalition is using social media to allow Ontarians to define their own health care issues in the coming provincial election.

The new “pledge” web site has been up for less than a day and already comments are flooding in on the three-phase on-line project.

Phase 1 of the project invites Ontarians to visit and share what they believe to be the key health care issues and experiences. Phase 1 takes place through the month of June.

Phase 2 invites Ontarians to return and vote for their priorities from a summary list generated from Phase 1. This will take place in July and August.

Phase 3 the Coalition will ask Ontarians to take a pledge to help make these priorities key health care election issues. Candidates will be able to see how many people in each electoral riding have taken the pledge. If thousands of Ontarians join in, political parties will be compelled to make clear commitments on these issues. This last phase takes place in late August and early September.

“Lip service to health care is not enough,” says Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “Ontarians need clear commitments on the key issues that matter in our communities.”

Make your priorities known now at

September rally to demand health care commitments

Public health care usually ranks at the top of voter priority issues. It is also an issue that politicians are reluctant to talk about during the heat of an election. All three parties carry health care baggage from their time in government.

The Rae NDP government accelerated the privatization of community labs and created Rae days which increased overtime costs in hospitals. The Harris/Eves Tory government froze health care funding and introduce the disastrous policy of competitive bidding to home care. The McGuinty Liberals have closed ERs and pressured hospitals to empty hospital beds without providing sufficient alternate care in the community.

The Liberals and Tories are now promising to reduce health care spending increases to three per cent per year. Tim Hudak wants to eliminate the LHINs but offers no replacement for planning, funding, and community consultation. He also wants to contract out support services in our hospitals. The NDP have yet to reveal their health care platform. All this is taking place as governments prepare for a new age of austerity.

Regardless of the baggage they carry in to the election, voters need to demand a vision of where health care is going from all parties. It’s not just about shovelling funding into the system.

The Ontario Health Coalition is hoping that enough people show up in the streets of Toronto September 13th to send a message that political candidates cannot ignore. During this election we really do want to talk about health care.

The rally to safeguard public health care is being scheduled at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, September 13 at 12 Noon. While most rallies are aimed at the government of the day, this rally is a message to all parties that it is time for improved and equitable access to comprehensive health care across all of our communities.

Health care workers may want to schedule their shifts to be able to come to Toronto on that date. For workers along University Avenue and near Queen’s Park, the rally offers an ability to come out during lunch time and cheer the rally on.

Watch for more details in the coming months.

Meanwhile, please download the attached rally poster and share it with anyone you know who is interested in defending our public Medicare system.