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February 16th, 2023

For-profit corporations or public health care: NDP puts it to a vote in parliament

OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s NDP, will lead a vote in the House of Commons that calls on each member of parliament to decide: should health care funding be used to rebuild the understaffed public system, or to set up for-profit corporations that will poach nurses and doctors?

Singh’s motion also calls on the Liberal government to ensure that the spirit of the Canada Health Act is upheld so that cash-for-care corporations are not charging Canadians for surgeries and family doctor appointments.

“No one should have to start a go-fund-me campaign to get the surgery they need. No one should have to put off a visit to the family doctor until they can afford it. Health care should be ready for every Canadian when and where they need it — regardless of the size of their wallet,” said Singh.

“Allowing cash-for-care corporations to operate here is already bleeding family doctors, nurses and surgeons out of the public system. And expanding the role of for-profit corporations in health care delivery will finish the job — gutting public hospitals and clinics, forcing everyone to wait much longer.”

In 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to stop all billing for health care by amending the Canada Health Act, and campaigned against then-leader Erin O’Toole by blasting the Conservative plan to have for-profit corporations deliver more of Canada’s health care. But Trudeau has since flip-flopped, ignoring queue-jumping-for-cash businesses and calling for-profit health delivery “innovation.”

“Justin Trudeau’s flip-flop is costing Canadians by having them pay thousands of dollars to end their suffering, and it’s enabling workers to be poached, forcing us all to wait longer,” said Singh.

“There are two roads in front of us, and there is a clear difference between Justin Trudeau and I when it comes to health care.”

Text of the motion:

That, given that,

(i) during the 2021 federal election campaign, the prime minister was harshly critical of the Conservative Party of Canada proposal to encourage “innovation” in the health care sector by expanding for-profit provision of publicly funded services,

(ii) the prime minister has now dramatically changed his position and has lauded as ‘’innovation” Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s proposed expansion of for-profit clinics,

(iii) for-profit clinics would poach workers from the public system and lead to longer wait times,

(iv) there are multiple public reports of two-tier health care in Canada, where people are charged for faster access to care, such as family doctors or surgery,

the House call on the government to:

a) express disappointment that the prime minister has promoted Ontario’s for-profit health plans as “innovation”;

b) ensure that recently announced health care funding is not used for to the expansion of for-profit health care, but instead be used to rebuild and innovate within the public system by hiring more staff and reducing wait times; and

c) enforce the Canada Health Act and immediately move to close loopholes that allow for the growth of two tier health care in Canada.