The Ontario New Democratic Party’s (ONDP) plan to deliver a public and non-profit home care and long-term care system is the “comprehensive vision Ontarians need”, says the CUPE Ontario.

CUPE Ontario, which represents more than 60,000 health care workers in Long-Term Care, Community Home Care and Hospitals, is a leading organization advocating for a restructuring of health care. The union has been campaigning with SEIU Healthcare and Unifor for Care Not Profits, which has called for the end of for-profit long-term care and increase funding and staffing to keep residents and workers safe. They have also been campaigning for 15 years for a mandatory care standard in the law for seniors in long term care.

“It’s empowering to know that our work in the province, the work of CUPE on the national level, and the work of health coalitions, seniors coalitions, and other community organizations is being reflected by the ONDP,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “This plan is the voice of Ontarians long alarmed by the crisis in long-term care and home care, throughout our public healthcare system. We need it to become a reality by getting the Ford Conservatives out of office in 2022.”

The ONDP’s nine point plan to deliver public and non-profit long-term care and home care includes ending the chronically low staffing levels by creating full-time and well-paid jobs for those in Long-Term Care and Homecare, ; ramping up inspections; and increasing funding by matching dollar-for-dollar home care funding from the federal government and committing an additional $750 million annually for long-term care.

“We saw that the epicenter of the pandemic has been Ontario’s long-term care homes, and specifically for-profit homes,” said Debra Maxfield, chair of CUPE’s Health Care Workers Coordinating Committee. “They had the lowest staffing levels and cut corners to make a profit at the expense of people. We’ve needed government to take action for so long. Now we have a comprehensive plan that will deliver what we need.”

“This platform is critically important, but Ontarians don’t have to wait until the next election for a pivotal piece of this strategy,” continued Maxfield. “The Time to Care Act, Bill 13, is before the Ontario Legislature and it comes up for second reading on October 28.”

“The Ford Conservatives supported this same legislation in the dying days of the Liberal Government, and they have given themselves the power to fast track legislation to law in Ontario,” added Hahn. “We need to demand that Doug Ford and the Conservative Caucus do just that: make the Time to Care Act law in Ontario by guaranteeing an average of 4 hours of hands on care per resident per day in Long-Term Care facilities in Ontario.”