Hon. Doug Ford Premier of Ontario
Premier’s Office, Room 281
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. Sylvia Jones Minister of Health
Ministry of Health
777 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8
By email: Sylvia.Jones@pc.ola.org
April 14, 2023
Re: Reverse the Cuts to Healthcare for Uninsured People in Ontario
Dear Premier Ford and Minister Jones,
YWCA Ontario is a provincial coalition of YWCA Member Associations that serves more than 45,000 people each year across Ontario. Our associations offer a range of programs designed to address the needs of women, girls and gender diverse people and across the province we are seeing the disparate impacts of public service cuts on the communities we serve. Today, we are writing to urge the provincial government immediately to reverse the cuts to healthcare coverage for uninsured people in Ontario and to make this essential program permanent.
As organizations serving women, girls and gender diverse people, we are deeply concerned about the province’s decision to remove this coverage and the substantial impacts this will have on our communities. Without this access to care, the health and well-being of our communities will suffer, with potentially fatal consequences.
These cuts will detrimentally affect some of the most marginalized people in our communities, including people with precarious immigration status; temporary workers without official status; international students without insurance; and non-status Ontarians, many of whom are engaged in essential paid and unpaid work and many of whom are women. The cuts will also impact those who face barriers to maintaining a valid health card, such as people experiencing homelessness or with severe mental health conditions, those who have difficulty accessing Service Ontario to complete forms for coverage, and who have fled a violent situation without their personal belongings or are in a violent situation without access to their own documentation.
The risk of experiencing gender-based violence, houselessness and employment insecurity is heightened when we cut access to healthcare for anyone, but especially for the most marginalized, lowest income members of our society. Individuals living in poverty simply cannot afford the exorbitant up-front costs of accessing healthcare while uninsured. Without public health insurance, women and gender diverse people and their families are less likely to receive the healthcare they need and are put at risk of worsening health conditions or even death. Further, the decision to cut healthcare for uninsured people increases the risk of violence for women experiencing abuse as fewer and fewer will seek access to healthcare, simply because they cannot afford it.
Three years ago, the government made the right decision to ensure that any person living in Ontario could receive essential care. Cutting this coverage is cruel and will have catastrophic health consequences. Our neighbours, our friends, our co-workers, and our community members deserve equal access to healthcare.
That is why the YWCA Ontario coalition is joining the calls of the Ontario Decent Work and Health Network, along with advocates from across the province, in calling on the Ontario government to reverse the cuts and make this program permanent to ensure access to healthcare for all people living in Ontario.
YWCA Niagara Region
YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin
Jess Dixon, MPP Cambridge
Catherine Fife, MPP Waterloo
Mike Harris, MPP Kitchener Conestoga
Sam Oosterhoff MPP Niagara West
Jennie Stevens MPP St. Catharines
Jeff Burch MPP Niagara Centre
Wayne Gates MPP Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake, Fort Erie
Jill Andrew, MPP Toronto - St. Paul
Aris Babikian, MPP Scarborough—Agincourt
Doly Begum, MPP Scarborough Southwest
Jessica Bell, MPP University—Rosedale
Stephanie Bowman, MPP Don Valley West
Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho, MPP Scarborough North
Hon. Stan Cho, MPP Willowdale
Chris Glover, MPP Spadina—Fort York
Christine Hogarth, MPP Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Mitzie Hunter, MPP Scarborough—Guildwood
Bhutila Karpoche, MPP Parkdale—High Park
Vincent Ke, MPP Don Valley North
Robin Martin, MPP Eglinton—Lawrence
Mary-Margaret McMahon, MPP Beaches—East York
Adil Shamji, MPP Don Valley East
David Smith, MPP Scarborough Centre
Marit Stiles, MPP Davenport, Leader Official Opposition
Hon. Kinga Surma, MPP Etobicoke Centre
Peter Tabuns, MPP Toronto—Danforth
Vijay Thanigasalam, MPP Scarborough—Rouge Park
Kristyn Wong-Tam, MPP Toronto Centre