Increasing nursing and personal care levels for long-term care residents should be a priority for all Ontario MPPs regardless of party affiliation, say front line care staff with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). They are urging non-partisan support for private members’ legislation introduced today that amends the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 so that a long-term care home will have to provide its residents with an average of at least four hours a day of hands-on care.

Last spring, CUPE Ontario supported similar NDP private members’ legislation introduced by MPP France Gélinas that would make a four-hour daily care standard for residents, law. However, the Liberal government prorogued the Legislature and the Bill died.

“Elderly and vulnerable long-term care residents don’t deserve any more stall tactics. They need the benefit of additional care now,” said Candace Rennick, a former long-term care worker and CUPE Ontario secretary-treasurer, at a media conference announcing the reintroduction of the resident care standard legislation by the NDP today.

Commonly referred to as the ‘Time to Care’ Act, the new legislation would also permit the minimum hours to increase by regulation as care needs of residents, the majority of who are over 80 years old and have multiple chronic conditions, including dementia, continue to increase. Nearly one-in-seven residents has some form of cognitive impairment.

“There are some issues that require all three parties to put aside their differences and work together. This is one of them. That’s why we are calling for a non-partisan approach to getting the ‘Time to Care’ Bill voted on and passed as soon as possible,” Rennick said.

When the current Liberal government was in opposition and, then, when first elected in 2003, they promised to increase resident care levels. “But they’ve never delivered on that commitment,” said Rennick, “and we’re asking them to make good on that promise by voting in support of this Bill.”

There is considerable academic research that shows that residents would benefit greatly from a care standard of a minimum of four hours daily personal care and nursing. “On top of that, based on recent government projections, provincial revenue is on an uptick and there is funding to do this. So there should be no more excuses from the province and no more waiting for higher resident care,” said Rennick.