Public Values

Ontario home care contracts expiring, McGuinty may lift ban on competitive bidding

Media campaign makes case for building public system, better working conditions.

Home care workers mostly women of colour paid low wagesCiting the failure of private home care delivery in Ontario, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario and the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) are campaigning to stop home care privatization and build a public system.

Many home care contracts are set to expire March 31, and the provincial Liberals may lift a temporary ban on competitive bidding. The compulsory privatization policy was brought in by Conservative premier Mike Harris in the mid 1990s. In response, CUPE Ontario and the OHC have launched a province–wide media tour showing how they feel privatization hurts home care patients and workers.

The union cites how the provincial Liberal and stopped and started competitive bidding several times, and asks that the ban become permanent with a commitment to a public system. They also point to how home care workers are mostly women and, in urban centres, often racialized women who struggle with exploitative working conditions and low wages. Many home care workers regularly travel unpaid between patients, have shifts spread out over the course of the day and don't have enough time to spend with each patient.

The tour kicked off in Brockville on February 23, showing a video featuring home care workers and patients.

Links and sources
  CUPE study The Costs of Contracting Out Home Care
  Ontario Health Coalition home care resource page

Posted: March 01, 2010

  Health care
  Public services
  Front lines
  Voices of privatization

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