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Upcoming community vote disputes healthcare action by government

The Guelph District Health Coalition said it is 'gravely concerned' with the province's plans to convert hospitals to a for-profit model, and its quick passing of a controversial bill

Several voting locations are opening later this month in Guelph and Wellington County, as the Guelph District Health Coalition (GDHC) joins others in opposition to privatizing health care services in Ontario.

They are calling it a "citizen-led community opinion vote," held by the Ontario Health Coalition, which describes itself as a coalition of over 400 organizations concerned about health care, including several health care unions.

The GDHC said it is "gravely concerned" with the province's plans to convert hospitals to a for-profit model, and expediting the passing of Bill 60, which it said will open the door to "further privatization, the lowering of quality-of-care standards, deregulation of healthcare professions, lack of accountability, and lack of transparency."

The coalition said it will severely damage all local public hospitals, as well as the delivery of healthcare in small and rural towns.

“We are making sure Guelph and Wellington County residents have the opportunity to have their voices heard with our community-led referendum," Brit Hancock, the co-chair of the GDHC, said in a news release, adding the vote is about democracy and allowing everyone to have their say.

The province officially passed Bill 60 on Monday, which will allow more private clinics to offer certain publicly funded surgeries and procedures.

It said cataract surgeries and diagnostic imaging and testing will get expanded, while a new system will be created to perform hip and knee replacements.

Voting will take place in-person May 26-27, while online voting is available now on the Public Hospital Vote website. Residents 16 years of age and older are eligible to vote.

The first 500 in-person voting locations have been announced. Seven are in Guelph, while three more are in Wellington County.

The GDHC said it's hoping to add more locations and volunteers throughout the month.

Here are the 10 locations named, as of May 9:

  • West End Community Centre, 21 Imperial Rd. S., Guelph - May 26-27 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Water Street Church, 287 Water St., Guelph - May 26 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Market Square, 62-2 Carden St., Guelph - May 26-27 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • St. George's Square (outside Capistrano Bistro & Espresso Bar), 42 Wyndham St. N., Guelph - May 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and May 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Royal City Mission, 50 Quebec St., Guelph - May 26-27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Victoria Road Recreation Centre, 151 Victoria Rd. N., Guelph - May 26-27 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wellington Brewery, 950 Woodlawn Rd. W., Guelph - May 26-27 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • It Takes a Village, 148 ON-23, Listowel - May 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Canadian Legion Branch 134, 140 King St. W., Mount Forest - May 26-27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 457 Wellington St. E., Mount Forest - May 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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