TORONTO, Ont. – Because only four days of public hearings have been scheduled, seventy-three groups and individuals concerned with the care of residents in Ontario’s nursing homes, homes for the aged and rest homes, are being shut out of public discussions on Bill 140, the government’s proposed long-term care act.
CUPE Ontario has learned that only 48 of 96 requests for standing at the two days of Toronto hearings scheduled January 16 and 17 will be granted. In Kingston, only 24 of 42 requests will be heard on January 23, while London will accommodate only 24 of 31 requests during its one-day hearing on January 24.
“This major piece of legislation will set out in law the type of care our family members and loved ones receive in long-term care facilities for decades to come,” says Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President, which represents caregivers in these facilities. “In a democracy, it is unconscionable that the Liberal government would curtail public input into the bill, a bill which in its currently flawed state, would have a dramatic impact on how residents are cared for.”
With almost 75,000 seniors in long-term care facilities across the province, Ryan says that thousands of Ontario families have a vested interest in how their loved ones are cared for, and how they themselves should be cared for, should they need to enter a nursing home.
“There are numerous homes in every part of the province,” says Ryan. “To be fair to these families and the caregivers who work in these facilities, the McGuinty Liberals should extend hearings to cities including Windsor, St. Catharines, Niagara, Hamilton, Peterborough, Ottawa, North Bay, Timmins and Thunder Bay.”
Ryan said that it is possible that more groups may have been discouraged from participating in the hearings because they were not informed of the four-city hearings, or were unable to travel to these locations from their home communities.
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CUPE Ontario President