Do you want Ontario’s hospitals to be privatized?

Health Coalition holding referendum May 26 and 27

GUELPH – Do you want Ontario’s hospitals and health clinics to be privatized?

The Guelph and District Health Coalition wants to know and is holding a referendum on May 26 and 27 at various locations throughout Guelph and Wellington County.

The referendum is overseen by the Ontario Health Coalition and referendums will be held through local chapters across the province.

The vote also takes place online, although coalition co-chair Brit Hancock said officials would rather have paper ballots to bring to Queen’s Park for a visual display.

“We want bags and bags of ballots,” she said in a phone interview on May 5.

“Everyone in Ontario needs to have their voices heard because democracy matters.”

The pandemic caused hospitals to cancel surgeries and diagnostic tests and the province is handling the backlog by allowing private businesses to pick up the slack.

Before last spring’s provincial election, Premier Doug Ford said he wouldn’t touch the public health care system, but two months after being re-elected, he announced some private facilities would take some of the backlog.

He has said repeatedly that Ontarians won’t have to pay out of pocket, but Hancock said many private facilities are trying to “up sell” services to patients.

Hancock said there would be enough capacity at hospitals in the province to handle the case load if hospitals were properly funded. 

Then emergency rooms wouldn’t have to close over weekends, as has happened recently.

And she is worried private facilities will lure medical staff away from public hospitals, leaving hospitals in even worse shape.

Hancock noted the procedures that are being farmed out include cataract, hip and knee surgeries, which impact elderly patients the most.

“They are told they have to wait a year. Or they can attend a private facility and get it done in two weeks,” Hancock said.

“This goes against the Canada Health Act.”

The Guelph Wellington Coalition of Social Justice is holding a virtual town hall on May 17 at 7pm.

The town hall is co-sponsored by the Guelph and District Health Coalition, Ontario Public Interest Research-Guelph, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, and the Council of Canadians.

Expert panelists will relay  professional experience and personal thoughts regarding the privatization of the public health care system.

“We cannot sit this one out!” organizers say.

The town hall can be found at

For more information, email Karen Rathwell at

For a list of voting stations or to vote online, visit