Group Demands Healthcare Coverage For All

A member of the OHIP For All campaign puts up a sign at the group's Victoria Park rally, June 28, 2016. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

In a bid to get healthcare coverage for everyone living in Ontario, OHIP For All rallies were staged Tuesday in seven cities across the province, including London.

Organizers of the campaign are collecting signatures to petition the government to extend healthcare coverage to all Ontario residents regardless of their immigration status. The group says 200,000 Ontarians are currently denied coverage because they are new immigrants, temporary foreign workers between contracts, some international students, people pending certain immigration processes, and non-status people.

Co-Chair of the London Health Coalition Jeff Hanks organized the rally at Victoria Park over the lunch hour. He says people are dying because they don’t qualify for coverage.

“People wait until they are on death’s door and they go to hospital and the hospital says ‘well you have to pay up front,” says Hanks. “What kind of Ontario do we want to live in? One that’s inclusive and has health care for all which has been shown to be more cost effective. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Hanks says there is a long list of stories of people who become increasingly sick because they couldn’t afford treatment .

“They say to people up front “oh, you have to pay $800 or you have to pay $100,000 and people just don’t have the money,” says Hanks. “So then they don’t go and get the care when they desperately need it.”

Rallies were also held in Hamilton, Kitchener, Mississauaga, Ottawa, Toronto, and Peterborough.

More information about the campaign click here.