Protest at Brampton Civic will push for better healthcare following release of alarming Ontario Health Coalition report highlighting PC move to privatization
(The Pointer Files)

Protest at Brampton Civic will push for better healthcare following release of alarming Ontario Health Coalition report highlighting PC move to privatization

After a damning report from the Ontario Health Coalition accusing the PC government of purposely underfunding public health systems to finance the private sector, the organization’s local chapter has announced April 22 will be a day of protest at Brampton Civic Hospital to demand “Truly Universal Healthcare”. 

The demonstration is currently scheduled to take place at the corner of Bramalea Road and Bovaird Drive in Brampton from 3-7 p.m. The main demands are for more public hospitals in Brampton and Caledon, a stop to the privatization of healthcare and for “OHIP for all, regardless of Immigration Status”. 

Janine Herrmann-McLeod, Co-Chair of Brampton Caledon Health Coalition (BrCHC), said at a press conference announcing the protest that the organization does not just want residents to come out with signs and their friends, it also wants them to bring their stories.

“We are really looking forward to connecting with community and showing the frustration that we have here in Brampton, because everytime we go out and we talk to the community, the frustration is palpable over lack of care.” 


Peel Memorial’s Phase 2 expansion has been delayed for years and what is now being promised by the PC government will only be a small fraction of what was requested by the City. It does not operate as a hospital and there is no overnight care.

(Alexis Wright/The Pointer)


Brampton’s residents have for decades called for better healthcare in the city, which became a poster child for “hallway healthcare,” yet their pleas have been ignored and promises from elected officials, including the city’s MPPs who are all PC members, have not been backed by action. 

When Brampton’s already struggling, sole full-service general hospital was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Brampton’s former council declared a state of healthcare emergency in 2020, calling for attention to the deplorable conditions at Brampton Civic which could not keep up with the influx of patients. Their declaration included a call for an additional 850 hospital beds at Peel Memorial—which is not a hospital—through its promised expansion to become a second “hospital” in the city. What residents have been told instead, is that Memorial’s long delayed expansion will only include 250 beds, and almost all of them will be non-acute ones, for recovery and other types of care that would not qualify the facility as a full-service hospital. Currently, Memorial, which provides preventative medicine, has no beds and only offers out-patient care. 

Mayor Patrick Brown and Premier Doug Ford have repeatedly claimed Memorial’s expansion will deliver Brampton its second hospital. But what has been outlined so far is a fraction of the 850 beds council demanded, without any of the critical hospital features such as a full-service 24/7 Emergency Room, surgical units including for trauma, a cardiac unit, cancer treatment, a maternity ward, or any of the other features residents desperately need. 

William Osler, which manages both facilities in the city, has said Memorial’s expansion will essentially allow patients in recovery at Civic to be transferred, which will open up acute-care beds at Brampton’s lone hospital.

“When you have Brampton having less than one hospital bed…per thousand people, it's just really absurd,” Sylvia Roberts, Treasurer of BrCHC, said at the press conference, highlighting that this is less than half the provincial average. 

The call to action outside Brampton Civic during the local chapter’s press conference (the OHC report was scheduled to be announced in a number of municipalities on the same day, including Toronto, Cornwall, London, Niagara and Waterloo), came as organizers highlighted that there is an immediate need to plan for a third, fourth and fifth hospital in Brampton, and that those facilities must be public, not P3 partnerships, which is what Civic’s construction two decades ago was built under, which led to long delays and massive cost-overruns that led to far less beds than what the Liberal government at the time had promised. When Civic opened in 2007 it was immediately overwhelmed, operating far beyond capacity, resulting in the highly publicized deaths of patients

“We talk to a lot of people who are forced to wait a long time in the public system because it's so underfunded and sent to private clinics that may or may not overcharge or upsell them, or charge them at the same time as [an] actually public clinic,” Herrmann-McLeod said, stressing that these are surgeries and health issues that residents cannot afford to have delayed due to long wait times. “We can’t wait on cancer care, we can’t wait on MRIs, we can’t wait on injuries that are going to possibly extend to other parts of the body or get worse.” 


The Brampton Caledon Health Coalition announced a protest at Brampton Civic Hospital for April 22.

(Brampton Caledon Health Coalition)


The new OHC report comes out of a year-long study of the province’s local hospitals. Titled “Robbing the public to build the private: The Ford government’s hospital privatization scheme”, it argues the Ford government is intentionally underinvesting in the public healthcare system while increasing funding to the private sector. 

It reveals that under the Ford government resources have been transferred away from public hospitals while for-profit entities have received alarming funding increases from the PC government. While public hospitals are getting “real dollar cuts,” for example, it states private clinics have been given an over 212 percent increase since 2023, “from $38,693,100 in 2022-23 to $120,693,100 in 2023-24.”

“Their funding more than tripled in one year,” it states. 

It also details how despite the ban on expansion of private, for-profit hospitals as of 1971 when they were outlawed in Ontario, under the Ford government “from fiscal years 2017/18 – 2021/22 the Don Mills Surgical Centre received a 278.2 [percent] increase in funding and the Shouldice Hospital received a 19 [percent] increase in funding.” It also states the “Clearpoint (Don Mills Surgical), for which Ford’s former Health Minister registered as a lobbyist after leaving her position as Minister, has received the most,” in funding. The facilities are the last remaining for-profit private hospitals in the province. It highlights how at the same time, cuts to funding for public hospitals are “pushing them into service closures and deficits.” 

“This report outlines the evidence of the policy choices of the current government that have facilitated the creation of a crisis in our public hospitals while pouring resources into private for- profit hospitals and clinics” and argues the evidence is “irrefutable.” It details this evidence throughout the document, for example, how Ford’s government funded “private hospitals at double the rate per surgery than it funds public hospitals,” and “private for-profit ophthalmology clinics across Ontario at 21 [percent] or more for each cataract surgery.” 

It also accuses the PCs of refusing to respond to for-profit staffing agencies that are “charging up to three times more than public hospitals for staff,” which it states have “escalated their prices by more than 70 [percent] since Ford took office, while imposing wage caps and real dollar cuts on staff in public hospitals.” Recently the Ford government was forced to repeal its controversial Bill 124 which put a cap on wages of public sector workers, including nurses, for a period of three years and was ruled unconstitutional.

The report also brings attention to a disturbing practice across Ontario of operating rooms in public hospitals being “closed down or unused the majority of the time, while paying for-profit clinics and hospitals to build new privatized operating rooms,” stating underfunding and understaffing are the reason they are not being used. 

Citing a Kingston Health Coalition report which included data obtained through freedom of information legislation the report states “a contract to privatize cataract surgeries finds that the provincial government is paying a huge premium in order to fund the privatization.” It revealed the procedures received more than $627 per surgery plus costs that amounted to a total $2,036,779 charge of the health care system, a 56 percent increase “over what it would have cost to perform the same services in the public hospital,” which it states would have been only $1,305,360.

“Hundreds of millions in public money is being used to dismantle and privatize the core services of our public hospitals, robbing the public to build the private,” the report states. “The current provincial government has chronically underspent its health care budget, even as our public hospitals have been thrown into deficits and crisis.” The report outlines that at the same time as this chronic underfunding in the public healthcare budget, “unprecedented funding has been directed over to for-profit clinics and hospitals.”

“We hear awful stories of staff having to ration care, or having to harden themselves to the constant moral injury of working with less than they need,” Herrmann-McLeod told The Pointer. “People are refused prescribed services because there is simply not enough care available, or their health gets worse on waiting lists.” 

“We cannot allow a system that makes people choose between healthcare and rent, food, school, or other necessities,” she said, highlighting how obtaining healthcare services through the private sector is not something “everybody can afford” and said the worsening health that could progress as people sit on public waiting lists (which she said “are made even longer by the private system draining staff and funding out of the public system”) cannot be tolerated. 

“In Canada we are proud of what we call our ‘Universal Healthcare’, but lately for Ontario it is anything but. As federal healthcare programs move toward more universality, like with pharmacare and dental care programs currently in their infancy, the Ford government is destroying Ontario's public healthcare system.” She said privatization is “a fundamental threat to our identity as a country that strives towards equity and takes care of its people.” She also highlighted how many residents of  Brampton and Caledon do not have access to OHIP, like migrant and newcomer healthcare workers, and said these residents “live here, work here, contribute to our healthcare system, society, and economy, and are human beings deserving of care.”

“If we truly believe healthcare is a human right, they should be receiving public healthcare too.”

Universal, accessible, equitable healthcare for all residents, she said, is “not being provided in Brampton and Caledon, and we want to focus the groundswell of public dissatisfaction here into visible and effective resistance to this status quo."

With a Brampton protest scheduled less than two months away, BrCHC has stated it will see participation from the Peel Paramedics Union, Peel Regional Labour Council and Peel Elementary Teachers Local and is working on speaking with additional organizations to get them involved as well.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @_hafsaahmed

At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories to ensure every resident of Brampton, Mississauga and Niagara has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you

Submit a correction about this story