As long-term care homes across Ontario struggle with staffing shortages, UniversalCare has cited ‘budget issues’ as their reasoning for laying off staff.
The LTC workers received layoff notices on September 12 and include two dietary aides, three personal support workers, one registered nurse, and one registered practical nurse. The proposed layoffs include five full-time staff and will take effect on October 6.
“We’re not aware of any management at Regency Park Long-Term Care being laid off or losing working hours, just front-line staff,” says Suanne Hawkins, CUPE Representative. “No reduction in staff is acceptable, but the people who provide essential support to the residents of Regency Park should not bear the burden of the employer’s budgetary issues.”
The Regency Park Long-Term Care home has enough beds for 72 residents and employs about 65 staff. In recent years, UniversalCare contracted out jobs to unionized agency staff, over all classifications.
“Some of these workers that have been sent layoff notices have 20 years of seniority,” says Hawkins. “The employer hasn’t followed the collective agreement because they haven’t laid off temporary or probationary staff. They’ve gone straight to the full-time staff.”
The UniversalCare mandate states: “We believe in a better future for senior care. It’s one designed around every unique life, with new standards of safety and sustainability,” but Hawkins says this can’t be achieved without the dedicated and essential front-line staff who provide indispensable care to Windsor’s seniors.
Regency Park Long-Term Care Home is slated to undergo a rebuild and expansion that will include 88 new beds and 72 upgraded beds. Regency Park will move into a new building, as the current location of the long-term care home no longer adheres to Ontario’s accessibility criteria. Construction is expected to begin in the winter of this year and is expected to be completed within four years.
“We go from being heroes to being nothing,” says Debra Maxfield, Chair of the CUPE Ontario Health Care Workers Coordinating Committee. “Working in Long-Term Care has always been a very heavy and demanding job, and the COVID-19 pandemic made this work much, much harder. It’s shameful, especially when there is a province-wide shortage of LTC workers.”