Ontario’s Conservatives are planning to raise the co-payment fees that long-term care residents pay by 2.3 per cent, one of the highest price hikes in the last decade. A middle-class senior in care will pay about $500 more a year. CUPE is calling on the provincial government to reverse those increases and a planned real budget cut of over 1 per cent to long-term care facility budgets in 2019.
“In the March budget, the Conservatives announced real budget cuts to long-term care facilities for 2019 and for each of the four years after that. These cuts are planned, although long-term care facilities have transformed into care environments where residents have increasingly complex medical conditions and staffing levels are falling in real terms. It stands in stark relief that, against a falling real provincial contribution, seniors are asked to increase their contributions by more than the rate of inflation and 2.3 times that of the government. This is a situation which is unfair and cries out for rectification,” says Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario.
“In addition, the March budget cancelled the High Wage Transition Fund, which helps pay for staff wages, and the Structural Compliance Premium fund, which helps keep long-term care homes up to modern standards. The two cuts amount to more than $34 million annually. Facilities which are scaping by now will struggle as a result and care will decline,” says Heather Duff, the Chair of the Health Care Workers Coordinating Committee of CUPE Ontario.
“What kind of government is it that cuts taxes for the wealthy and hikes the co-payment for seniors living in long-term care by a rate greater than inflation? What kind of government is it that cuts staffing levels in long-term care when the residents are already neglected and the workforce is at the breaking point? These heartless policy measures need to be reversed,” says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE.
For more information, please contact:
Marla DiCandia, CUPE Communications, 416-523-3124, www.cupe.on.ca