Canadian unions seek end to hospital services privatization in Carillion fallout

(Reuters) - Two Canadian employee unions on Tuesday urged Ontario’s provincial government to stop the privatization of hospital service contracts following the collapse of Britain’s Carillion.

The call for the Canadian government to step in came from Unifor and the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE), which represents employees at the William Osler Health System, The Royal Ottawa Hospital, Halton Healthcare and the Sault Area Hospital.

The hospitals have service contracts with Carillion, the unions said, adding the workers are among the 6,000 Canadian workers affected by the Carillion liquidation.

“It is also time for these projects to be brought back into the public sector. The folly of private ownership of the hospitals is exposed fully by this bankruptcy,” OCHU president Michael Hurley said in a statement.

Construction and services company Carillion collapsed on Monday when its banks pulled the plug, triggering Britain’s biggest corporate failure in a decade and forcing the government to step in to guarantee public services from school meals to roadworks.

In Britain, Theresa May’s government has said Carillion’s public sector workers will be continued to be paid.

Uninor said the Ontario government should extend similar promises to hospital staff in Ontario, Canada's most populous province. (

The OCHU - the healthcare arm of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in Ontario - and Unifor together represent nearly 50,000 staff in hospitals across the province.

Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila