Ontario’s Long-Term COVID-19 Commission released an interim report today, calling on the government to implement a minimum daily care standard of four hours of hands-on care per resident.

“We thank the commission for their work and for recognizing the need to institute a staffing standard,” said Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario’s Secretary-Treasurer. “Residents and workers cannot wait any longer for appropriate and safe care in our long-term care homes. The government must take action now.”

“While the commissions’ findings on staffing standards is nothing new to health care workers it’s my hope that the government takes these recommendations seriously and acts swiftly,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The alarm bells on the crisis of long-term care have been blaring for decades with little to no action from provincial governments. Next week Premier Ford has an opportunity to pass a minimum standard of care that is much needed for residents and workers.”

CUPE, SEIU and Unifor are calling on the government to take action on Wednesday evening during the second reading of Bill 13, the Time to Care Act. The legislation calls for an average minimum of four hours of daily care per resident.

“As stated within the Commission’s interim report, the time for study is over. Real action can start with all parliamentarians at Queen’s Park voting unanimously next week to pass Bill 13 to raise the standards of care. The time to care is the tool staff and families have been demanding,” said Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Healthcare.

“We thank the Commission for the interim report and ask they take the next step to shine a light into the closed-door decision making by government and nursing home operators who failed to protect people living and working in long-term care homes. Justice for the families we lost in this pandemic demand real accountability and complete transparency into a system that continues to put corporate shareholders before quality care.”

Earlier this week, Pat Armstrong, the distinguished professor of sociology at York University and the leading researcher on long-term care in Canada, released an Open Letter to the Ontario Legislative Assembly, calling on them to institute a four-hours of care standard. The letter was co-signed by 24 other academics involved in an inter-disciplinary, multi-jurisdiction study on long-term care.