Deputation at City Hall regarding funding for women’s health clinics


My name is Dr. Miriam Garfinkle and I am a family physician practicing in downtown Toronto the past 23 years. I was one of the founding organizers of the BC and VD Clinic 30 years ago, I was the first woman doctor at Immigrants Women’s Centre 21 years ago and have recently returned to work there the past 2 and a half years. I have also worked at the walk-in evening clinic at Hassle Free for a year and a half.

These three clinics are some of the most, if not the most, established and highly regarded clinics in the City. The people who staff these clinics are highly dedicated to offer high standards of care. They offer services to women who would not otherwise receive services because of barriers of gender, culture and language. They offer a non-judgmental, comfortable and caring environment where people are able to be educated and treated in the sensitive area of reproductive health, STD screening and treatment, and birth control. The Immigrant Women’s Centre even reaches out with its Mobile Health Unit to women in their workplace or place of study, who would not otherwise be able to take time to see a health care provider. The need for these services is only increasing because of lack of primary care physicians in Toronto and the increased burden of disease.

The people who work in these clinic are soldiers, doing YOUR public health work at a grassroots level. It is clearly cost-effective and I think it’s appalling that you would consider a cut to these clinics. They need and should receive more money not less.

Ursula Franklin, the well known physicist and social critic spoke a couple of years ago at a meeting about the present government’s cuts to public education. She spoke about the “dim view” of government outlook. This city cannot afford a public health board with the same “dim view”.


Miriam Garfinkle
January 15, 2003