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Thousands of people are rallying outside Ontario’s legislature to protest the government’s changes to the health-care system.

The rally was organized by the Ontario Health Coalition, which says it’s concerned that the changes will lead to privatization of some health services – a suggestion the province has denied.

The group’s executive director Natalie Mehra says the government’s health spending – announced in the provincial budget – will not cover the cost of inflation and is effectively a funding cut to hospitals.

The group has also criticized the province for merging local health bureaucracies into larger entities, saying the change won’t improve patient care.

Protesters from across the province arrived by bus for the mid-day event, some carrying placards, banners and effigies of Premier Doug Ford and Finance Minister Vic Fedeli.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the government is committed to the public health-care system.