OTTAWA – Canadian residential long-term care is in crisis, and it’s only going to get worse as the population ages, says a new report by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Steady underfunding, understaffing and privatization have placed Canada’s elderly in a two-tiered system where costs, access and quality vary depending on your income and where you live.
The solution - as outlined in the research – is increased federal funding tied to legislated standards of care, more care hours, and a phasing out of for-profit providers that cut corners at the expense of elderly residents.
“Quality residential care should be available to all seniors who need it, on an equal basis,” says CUPE National President Paul Moist. “But across Canada, depending on the province and the profit-structure of a facility, seniors can be forced to pay extra fees for everything from physiotherapy to incontinence pads.”
Meanwhile, as Canada’s population ages, residential long-term care facilities remain chronically understaffed.
“In 2031, 23 per cent of the population will be over 65,” says Moist. “How will our long-term care system cope with almost double the number of seniors when the majority of Canada’s facilities are dangerously understaffed now?”
As Canada’s largest union, CUPE represents over 67,000 workers in residential long-term care facilities. “Our members provide front-line care every day to the over 200,000 people who live in these facilities. We know the problems, and we have solutions to offer,” says Moist.
Key recommendations in the 101-page report include:
• Increase federal funding for residential long-term care.
• Phase out funding to for-profit providers, which routinely charge higher fees and operate with dangerously low staffing levels.
• Increase staffing, with legislated quality of care standards
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Download the report/summary:
- Residential long-term care in Canada: our vision for better seniors’ care (full report) 101 pages
- Residential long-term care in Canada: our vision for better seniors’ care (summary) 12 pages
Learn more about CUPE’s long-term care tour with stops across the country.
For interviews with Mr. Moist or report author Irene Jansen:
CUPE Media Relations – 613-818-0067