KENORA – Leaders Ledger – For decades our publicly funded healthcare system has been the pride of Canadians. Every citizen, regardless of social standing and ability to pay, has equal access to essential healthcare services.
Time and time again it is cited as Canadians’ most valued-service. Yet at the same time, many express frustrations with their ability to access these essential services in a timely manner. This is particularly true in northern and rural communities with declining and aging populations.
Since being elected last fall, access to healthcare has become an important issue, as communities like Ear Falls and Rainy River faced potential closures, and individuals in other communities have expressed frustration that the current system in place does not properly reflect northern realities.
Whether it’s funding models that make it more difficult for smaller health centres to compete with larger hospitals or rostering systems that fail to account for a community’s true population, it’s no secret that there is a lot of frustration out there. But ultimately, the lingering question is: how do we fix the problem?
I have always been a big proponent of public engagement. It’s no secret that systems which are designed to work in principle do not always live up to expectations and the best way to ensure we meet our goals is to speak with those who interact directly with the system and rely on it to meet their needs.
That is why I am happy to announce that this Friday I will be joined by Ontario NDP Health Critic France Gelinas to host a series of town hall meetings in four communities across the riding. The goal of these meetings is to hear not only the success stories of northern healthcare, but also how and where we can improve. The goal is to take these ideas back to Queen’s Park and push for changes that will help meet those expectations and that is why I have asked Mme Gelinas to join me as a special guest.
In her professional career, Mme. Gelinas was the Executive Director of the Community Health Centre in Sudbury. Under her watch, the health centre expanded its services into many small and rural communities in Northeastern Ontario. In short, she understands the system and her knowledge and experience will be a great asset as we push for better healthcare in the north.
I am, of course, well aware that we are unable to visit every community during this series of town hall meetings and that morning and afternoon sessions may not work for everyone. For that reason I am asking individuals who are unable to attend but who have stories to share to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at Sarah Campbell, MPP 58 Princess St. Dryden, Ontario P8N 1C7.
The meetings will take place this Friday September 28 at the following locations:
Fort Frances, 8 a.m. at the Volunteer Bureau. Rainy River, 11 a.m. at the Rainy River Legion. Kenora, 3:30 p.m. at the Travelodge. Dryden, 7:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express. The events are open to everyone and, of course, are free of charge. I look forward to seeing you there.
MPP Kenora-Rainy River