The inquiry into the murder of eight long term care residents in Ontario says “fundamental changes must be made” and has called on the government to improve resident safety, in part, by looking at increased training and staffing levels in Ontario long term care facilities.

For years, CUPE Ontario, through its Time to Care campaign, has been calling on the government to legislate a minimum of four hours of care per day in long term care homes.

Despite years of evidence and the inquiry’s recommendations, CUPE is concerned about whether the provincial government in Ontario will find the political will to take action, especially while the Ford government is busily slashing funding for health care and social services.

“How can we trust this government to do what’s right and what’s needed on one hand, while they’re waging a war against health care and the services that vulnerable people depend on with the other?” asks CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. Rennick noted the Ford government’s first budget cut funding for long term care, and the vast majority of funding remaining for long term care beds went to for-profit homes, allowing public dollars intended to support seniors back into the pockets of wealthy corporations.

 “The relationship between the Ford government and the nursing home industry is way too close for comfort, and Mr. Ford’s plans to privatize nursing home inspections gives us grave concerns about his government’s willingness to take this issue seriously,” said Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, CUPE’s hospital worker wing in Ontario.

“What matters now is that the government takes these recommendations and puts up the funding to make them real,” said Heather Duff, Chair of the Health Care Workers Coordinating Committee. “Something has to come of all this. Long term care residents, their families, and the people who take care of them are all counting on our government to act.”