Clancy says health accord only a start

New federal dollars welcome, but union will continue fighting for-profit care

OTTAWA - Canada's second largest union warned today that Canada's First Ministers have only written the first prescription needed to protect and build the national Medicare system.

James Clancy, president of the 325,000-member union, issued the warning after the Prime Minister and Premiers emerged from two days of behind closed door negotiations to announce a new health accord that dedicates more federal dollars for the Medicare system but doesn't include a collective and definitive stand against the role of private for-profit corporations in the provision of health care services. The National Union of Public and General Employees membership includes 75,000 health care workers.

"This health accord is only a start," said Clancy.

"Everyone who has fought to protect and build Medicare in Canada, including our National Union, will be relieved that the corner has been turned with respect to federal funding and the expansion of public Medicare to include priority home care services and catastrophic drug coverage," he added.

However, the union leader noted that the new health accord does not address the important demand made by Canadians and supported by the Romanow report: no private for-profit care. The accord does not seek to roll back the efforts of some provinces to increase the involvement of private for-profit corporations in the system even though study after study has concluded that private for-profit care is more expensive, provides worse care and undermines the value of fairness.

"Citizens and patients know that we still have a long way to go in terms of securing the future of our Medicare and strengthening one of the foundations of our society," said Clancy. "Our union will continue to play a leading role in the fight against the intrusion of private for-profit corporations in health care."

"Canada's First Ministers had an opportunity to make history by declaring a prohibition on private for-profit health care," said Clancy. "Unfortunately, that opportunity was not seized and a defining moment has been missed."


For more information:
James Clancy or Mike Luff at (613) 228-9800


For a more detailed analysis of the First Ministers Accord:

HSA is a component of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)