The Ford Conservatives’ plan to forcibly move elders and people with disabilities from hospitals to long-term care homes does nothing to address the healthcare crisis and in fact worsens it.

“ER and ICU closures, and backlogs of surgeries, are happening because of a snowballing staffing shortage, not because of the inability to coerce patients out of hospital and into long-term care,” said Michael Hurley, President of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU). “Ford’s Bill 7 won’t do anything to fix our health crisis. In reality, it just furthers the Ford Conservative’s plan to privatize healthcare, by forcing seniors and other patients into the empty beds in private long term care facilities. Beds that are empty because no one wants to go to these facilities after seeing thousands of tragic deaths in these same private homes during the pandemic. What’s even worse is that he is denying the right of patients to appeal this decision and is fast tracking this legislation, hoping that people don’t notice and don’t fight back.”

“This proposed legislation wrongly blames the most vulnerable people for a healthcare crisis that’s not their fault and forces them into long-term care, potentially hundreds of kilometers outside their communities, away from their families and friends, and under threat of incredibly costly charges,” said Debra Maxfield, a personal support worker and Chair of CUPE Ontario’s Health Care Workers’ Coordinating Committee. “There absolutely is a staffing crisis in health care in this province, but this won’t do a thing to address it.”

CUPE, which represents 90,000 healthcare workers in Ontario, is calling for a full stop to this legislation and demanding that Ford listen to Ontarians and make a plan to address the healthcare crisis by repealing wage restraint legislation, raising wages, and making significant investments.

“We should never be scapegoating elders and people with disabilities for anything going wrong due to systemic underinvestment,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “What we need to do immediately is ensure significant and historic investments in the province’s overburdened and understaffed hospitals, home care, rehabilitative care, and LTC homes.”