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Extendicare Inc. is one of the largest operators of long-term care facilities in North America, with 276 facilities and a capacity for over 27,000 residents.

Extendicare is profiting from the Ontario governments privatization of long-term care facilities. Three quarters of 6,700 new beds went to a handful of corporations, including Extendicare.

Now, Extendicare is using the pension money of public sector workers to finance eight new privately operated long-term care facilities in Ontario. Borealis Long Term Care Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), has formed an alliance with Extendicare to build the new facilities, which will have 1,100 new beds. OMERS manages approximately $37 billion in assets of CUPE members and other government employees in Ontario.

Extendicare has managed to ensure its interests are well represented on key government committees investigating health care on both sides of the border, creating major conflicts of interest. Senator Michael Kirby has been a director of Extendicare since 1987. A shareholder in the corporation, he also chairs the Senate committee studying the state of the Canadian health care system. Joy Caulkin, CEO of Extendicare, is a member of the Task Force on the Availability of Long Term Care in the United States. The task force is researching nursing homes, litigation and liability insurance issues.

Extendicare has run into legal trouble in the United States. The companys financial troubles in Florida were so severe that they have sold all their nursing home operations in that state because the environment in the state of Florida is very litigious. In one lawsuit a resident in a nursing home charged that Extendicare was negligent by providing poor care and service. A jury agreed, ordering the corporation to pay US$6.8 million.