For-profit care failing BC seniors

Time to Care Campaign

A recent report from British Columbia’s Seniors Advocate shows stark differences in how resources are directed toward care for seniors in for-profit and not-for-profit long-term care homes. Both receive the same level of public funding.

The report highlights significant problems with privatization. Non-profit facilities spent $10,000 more on care for each resident annually than their for-profit counterparts. Non-profit homes also exceeded the province’s targets for hours of direct care by 80,000 hours, which the homes weren’t funded to provide. In contrast, for-profit care homes failed to deliver over 200,000 hours of care for which they received public funding.

Overall, for-profit long-term care homes spent less money on front-line staff, and more of their revenue went towards building expenses and profits.

The Hospital Employees’ Union, CUPE’s BC health services division, represents about 20,000 workers in long-term care homes. HEU is calling for significant investments to build public and non-profit long-term care homes, greater oversight of all publicly-funded facilities, a return to standardized wages and caring conditions, and stricter auditing and compliance standards in the sector.

Minority Parliament reviews new NAFTA

The flags of Canada, the USA and Mexico

Canadian lawmakers have begun their review of the new North American trade deal that has been hammered out, officially called the Canada US Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) in Canada. Pressure from House Democrats in the United States resulted in important reforms to the deal, particularly changes to the intellectual property chapter that will avoid increased costs to medicines.

Federal New Democrats have taken this opportunity to strike a deal with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, agreeing to support the legislation implementing CUSMA in exchange for more parliamentary transparency in future trade negotiations.

There are several improvements that could still be made to the deal with pressure from Canadians, including regulations on pharmaceutical pricing, labour enforcement, and action on climate change. Parliament’s review of the implementing legislation for CUSMA is an excellent opportunity to make our voices heard on these issues.