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September 14 , 2009

Purchase for Profit

Public-Private Partnerships and Canada's Public Health Care System


Since the start of the twenty-first century, Canadian provinces have increasingly begun turning to the private sector to finance and construct large-scale infrastructure projects. From a critical public policy perspective, the danger of these public-private partnerships (P3s) is that they are more than just new ways to deliver public infrastructure. They are neoliberal projects that privatize and corporatize the basis of public services.

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Analyzing four Canadian P3 hospital projects, Heather Whiteside argues that P3s not only fail to fulfill the promises made by their proponents but also compromise public control of health policy, outcomes, and future plans. Yet, despite these disadvantages, the use of P3s is being normalized and expanded in BC and Ontario through capital planning frameworks and special government agencies that support and encourage P3 projects. Based on extensive interviews with academic experts, union representatives, provincial government decision-makers, and private sector partners, Purchase for Profit will be important for those studying public policy in any of the areas in which P3s are now being adopted.

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