Several rallies were held across the province on Tuesday to launch a new campaign, OHIP for All. Cities like Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, and right here in London are requesting that the Ontario Health Insurance Plan cover every individual who calls Ontario “home”.
Due to immigration statuses, an estimated 200,000 people are without health coverage. This includes new immigrants, temporary foreign workers between contracts, some international students, people pending certain immigration processes, and non-status people.
OHIP for All is a campaign created to bring health coverage to all Ontarians, regardless of status.
Jeff Hanks is the co-chair of the London Health Coalition and organized the rally in Victoria Park. He says people have had very adverse effects.
“They don’t go to hospitals on time, they get sicker and sicker, and some people have died because they couldn’t afford coverage”.
He adds that since people don’t have the funds to pay their medical bills, they don’t seek help until it’s too late.
“People wait until they’re on death’s door, and they go to hospitals and they say ‘well, you have to pay upfront’. What kind of Ontario do we want to live in? One that’s inclusive and has health care for all”.
The rally team is planning to deliver a signature-filled petition to Eric Hoskins, the Health Minister in hopes it will get the government engaged and talking, and get our premier to cover everyone’s lives.
Charles Yin is a medical student at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University. He says one of the main reasons he chose to study medicine is because he believes in the principles of the healthcare system in this country. He also recognizes the emphasis we place on the principle of equity.
“You should be able to access good, timely healthcare. I think it’s really shameful that there are 200,000 people in this province who can’t do that”.
He goes on to say all Canadians should be entitled to proper healthcare no matter who they are, and it’s about time we extend that to new Canadians as well.