OTTAWA ― Over 250 health care staff from across the province are in downtown Ottawa today, taking part in a march of remembrance in memory of 29 long-term care residents, killed as a result of violence by another resident in Ontario nursing homes since 2001.
The national and Ontario leadership of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and a family advocate will join the memorial march, which begins at noon at the Delta Ottawa City Centre Hotel (101 Lyon St. N). Carrying pink carnations and accompanied by bagpipers, the commemorative march will progress through the city centre to Liberal MPP Naqvi’s office, located at 109 Catherine St.
When first elected in 2003, Naqvi’s Liberal government promised to legislative a minimum daily care standard for long-term care residents. Not only have the Liberals failed to deliver on that promise, but today, provincial funding is too low to provide adequate care for residents with complex conditions, including dementia and long-term care homes are making significant cuts to care, programs and staff.
Last April, Claudia George (long-time) staff at the Toronto nursing home where 72-year old Joycelyn Dixon was killed by another resident in March 2013, urged Ontario’s health minister to intervene immediately to stop a 200 hour a week cut to resident care at the home. Her appeal was ignored. George will participate in today’s march.
“Safer, better quality care for nursing home residents is a non-starter for a compassionate government,” says Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario secretary-treasurer and a former long-term care worker. “Ontario’s health minister and Premier must act and make a four-hour care standard the law. We believe it’s the moral responsibility of all Ontario MPPs to support a legislative change for a daily four-hour care standard.”
This year marks the 10‐year anniversary of the Casa Verde Inquest into the tragic deaths (in 2001) of two long‐term care residents at that home. A minimum care standard for residents and improved staffing levels in long-term care homes are among the inquest jury’s 85 recommendations that have never been implemented by the Ontario government.
According to national health data, care and staffing levels in Ontario nursing homes are lower than the Canadian average.
A second march of remembrance, organized by the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) will be held in Toronto on Thursday, October 1, 2015.
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