Audrey Guay, March 9, 2022 The symptoms of Canada’s strained health care system are well known by now. We see headlines about the shortages of doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals. Burnout rates, already a problem before COVID-19 hit, are reaching new highs. For patients, delayed or missed health care services resulted in 4,000 excess deaths in the second half of 2020 alone.

Decades of austerity cuts, underfunding, and neglect by conservative governments have not left Canada’s healthcare system prepared for the pandemic’s sustained pressures. In response to a crumbling system, Canada’s right-wing establishment is prescribing more of the same failing treatment: private health care.

We’re seeing a new wave of pro-privatization discourse in the media as provinces move their privatization agendas forward. Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan have all announced plans to outsource surgeries to private providers, a strategy already in use by the B.C. NDP-led government to clear its surgical backlog.

Private for-profit hasn’t worked

Contracting out surgical services to private companies is at best a short term measure, but evidence shows it to be counter-productive in the long run.

Evidence shows that outsourcing surgeries to private for-profits leads to:

While no research shows that introducing for-profit health care into a public system works, there is solid evidence in support of proven public solutions, including:

Governments have been gutting the public healthcare system for decades, creating the scenarios that, on the surface, seem to justify allowing private actors to save the day. To fix this, we need a new set of government policies that will reverse the trend by investing in a systematic human resources and capital investment plan, bringing our public system’s capacity back to sustainable levels.

Provinces using investor-owned for-profit clinics to cut wait times heading towards predictable failure