NORTH BAY, ON Residents in North Bay and east Nipissing firmly support their taxes going toward resident care at Cassellholme. But there is overwhelming opposition to divesting Cassellholme into a privately-run nursing home, according to an area-wide poll released today.

Cassellholme is the only public, municipal home for nine east Nipissing municipalities. Behind the scenes discussions are taking place that would change the nursing home to a private, independent facility. Only 17 per cent of the more than 800 poll respondents say they support making Cassellholme a privately-run nursing home.

When respondents were asked whether they “think that nursing homes and other long-term care homes for the aged in the North Bay/Nipissing east area should be publicly or privately operated”, 86 per cent said they prefer public operation.

Before the councillors who sit on the Cassellholme board forge ahead, Fred Hahn president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario that commissioned the poll warns, they should “pay close attention to what the community wants. That’s for the municipalities to continue to operate the home publicly and continue to have a say in its governance. People in this area inherently understand what some mayors and councillors appear to have forgotten that municipal services, like long-term care are valued, and people take pride in supporting them.”

Indeed, the poll pokes large holes in the “the mantra that private is best and that people don’t support public services. The opposite is true,” said Hahn.

In addition to 87 per cent (almost 9 in 10) of respondents saying they want their mayor or councillor to vote to keep Cassellholme public, 82 per cent (or over eight in ten) support having some of their taxes go to resident care at Cassellholme. Nearly 60 percent would be less likely to vote for their mayor or councillor if they vote to make Cassellholme private.

A community campaign to keep Cassellholme public and under municipal oversight is starting to “gain momentum as more of the residents’ families are finding out that the municipalities want to get out of providing long-term care to area seniors. At the doorstep, people are telling us they have family living at the home or have had a loved one reside there, and they still want the municipalities to run Cassellholme. Now the poll has put a number to that opposition to privatize Cassellholme,” said Henri Giroux president of CUPE 146 representing Cassellholme staff.

Other poll results include:

  • Six in ten people polled know or have known someone who resides at Cassellholme.
  • 81 per cent want their municipality to continue to have oversight of Cassellholme.
  • Seven in ten (70 per cent) agree that the provincial government should pay fully for the redevelopment
    of Cassellholme.

For more information please contact:

Stella Yeadon                     
CUPE Communications