NORTH BAY, ON — Research evidence strongly supports maintaining public municipal control of Cassellholme, says Professor Susan Braedley who will be a guest speaker at a community forum in North Bay on June 7, 2016. What’s more says, the Carleton University academic and researcher on two international long-term care and healthy ageing studies, “municipal delivery is not only better for nursing home residents, it’s also better for Ontario’s health system overall.”

The Cassellholme board and the nine municipalities that contribute operational funding to east Nipissing’s only public, municipal long-term care home are maneuvering behind the scenes to act on a consultant’s report calling for municipal divestment and the privatization of Cassellholme. 

Overall, municipally-operated long-term care facilities provide a higher standard of care than not-for-profit homes, and significantly higher than for-profit homes. According to research data, publicly owned long-term care homes do best on quality indicators, says Braedley.

“Further, there is very strong evidence that there are significantly fewer hospitalizations of residents from publicly owned long-term care homes, compared to both non-profit and for-profit homes in Canada. There are far fewer emergency room visits. This means that in privatizing a long-term care home, a municipality is likely to be transferring higher costs to the health care system. They are actually creating more costs for taxpayers, while also reducing publicly held assets,” Braedley says. 

The local mayors and councillors in the few instances where they “have been forced to comment publicly on the behind the scenes divestment negotiations are attempting to muddle the difference between public, municipally owned and private, non-profit nursing homes. Essentially the chair of the Cassellholme board is pretending that this is not privatization, when it most certainly is,” says Fred Hahn the president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

To that point Braedley says, privatization occurs when a publicly owned service or institution is divested from a municipal or other government funder/provider to a private organization, such as a community non-profit organization or a for-profit organization. “Non-profit corporations, including non-profit charitable organizations, are not public – they are not publicly owned or operated. These independent organizations are accountable to a small board of directors who decide their own membership, not to the broader community. The assets they hold are owned by the non-profit corporation and are not publicly owned. The community would in effect lose a public asset if Cassellholme were privatized and run by independent board.”

Cassellholme has embarked on a process of capital renewal and believes that it needs to change its governance to do so. “This is not the case,” says Hahn. The government of Ontario, through the ministry of health and other agencies such as Infrastructure Ontario, “have the ability to support infrastructure renewal without sacrificing the high standards of care in public long-term care homes. We strongly encourage the health minister to say no to municipal divestment of Cassellholme.”

For more information contact:

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications

Fred Hahn
President CUPE Ontario

Susan Braedley
Associate Professor Carleton University