Care and staff levels reforms to improve care quality in long-term care are needed now and the Ontario government should put an immediate focus on expanding beds only in non-profit homes while placing a moratorium on new for-profit beds, says Candace Rennick the secretary-treasurer of CUPE Ontario.
“Fix the care. Add the badly needed staff and extra hands so residents get the care they deserve, and that front-line workers have been asking for two decades. This is what COVID-19 has shown us - that the frailty in the system is in the understaffing and part-time low-waged jobs in the sector. We cannot repeat the devastation of nearly 1800 residents dying over the last few months.”
“This government has been silent on a concrete plan to increase staffing and care levels. To stabilize the sector, we must immediately implement a plan to fully phase out profit making in long-term care,” said Rennick as the way forward to modernize long-term care in Ontario.
The Progressive Conservative government commission intended to review how and why so many residents died in long-term care homes at the height of the pandemic this spring, has yet to convene. However, all the research, media reports and data show that the majority of resident deaths – nearly 80 per cent – occurred in for-profit homes.
Rennick today urged the Premier to enact a full moratorium on for-profit bed expansion with a multi-year plan to transition the province’s long-term care system from its reliance on private businesses accountable to shareholders whose main priority is maximizing profit levels.
“No one should be making money from the care of the elderly and vulnerable in our residential homes. It is clear that this is - along with an increase in full-time staffing - the lesson from the pandemic. I am urging the Premier to be the Ontario leader who makes the biggest difference in the lives of residents in this province by making care fully not-for-profit and enacting a law that guarantees staffing and care levels. What an amazing legacy this would be for his government and him personally,” says Rennick.