QUEEN’S PARK – Doug Ford should listen to mayors from across Northern Ontario who are calling on him to stop his cuts to the number of public health units in the province, said Ontario’s Northern NDP MPPs.
NDP MPPs Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk-James Bay), Jamie West (Sudbury), France Gélinas (Nickel Belt), John Vanthof (Timiskaming-Cochrane), Judith Monteith-Farrell ( Thunder Bay – Atikokan), Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), Michael Mantha (Algoma-Manitoulin), and Gilles Bisson (Timmins) released the following joint statement in support of the call from the mayors of Northern Ontario’s largest cities:
“We are in the middle of a third wave of this pandemic that Doug Ford walked us right into by cutting public health protections all over the province too soon. Now, he must listen to Northern mayors — going ahead with his planned deep cuts to public health units will have a devastating impact on public health in northern communities.
Northern mayors are telling him that the pandemic has shown everyone how crucial public health is for northerners, and for everyone in the province. No one should have their public health unit cut; but northern health units face the additional challenges of enormous areas to cover, limited health infrastructure and extreme winter weather. This already caused the cancellation of some northern vaccination clinics this winter. Cutting public health units in Northern Ontario now would mean Doug Ford learned nothing from this health crisis, and he will continue putting lives at risk.
New Democrats have been working hard to stop Doug Ford’s cuts to public health since 2018. We believe it’s time to invest in public health protections to protect northerners — not cut public health.
When Ford forces the province to cut their support, municipalities are forced to try to fill the hole left behind. The Ford government shouldn’t be downloading the costs of running public health onto cash-strapped cities. Health care is a provincial responsibility, public health units are clearly a crucial part of our health care system and the province needs to fund them, not cut them.”