TORONTO, ON – Today’s reintroduction of the Time to Care Act shows that the Ontario NDP are the only party committed to guaranteeing seniors will have legislated minimum care standards they can count on when they need to move into long-term care. And that’s the kind of leadership we need in Ontario, says Candace Rennick, Secretary Treasurer of CUPE Ontario.
This afternoon, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath reintroduced the Bill after the Liberal government killed Bill 33 by proroguing the legislature last month. If passed the Bill will legislate a daily four-hour minimum care standard for all of the provinces long-term care homes. This is the third time the NDP has introduced the Bill.
“There are currently no minimum care standards for long-term care in Ontario and our seniors are suffering. They need this legislation to be passed now,” says Rennick, who worked with NDP health critic France Gelinas to draft the Bill. “Despite trying to work with all three parties to implement guaranteed minimum care standards, the Liberal government has refused to act. I think its’s shameful.”
There are more than 78,000 people living in Ontario long-term care homes. The majority of residents are over 85, almost three quarters have some form of Alzheimer’s or dementia, and the vast majority have mobility issues. Canada has the lowest long-term care levels among countries with equivalent economies, and Ontario has the lowest in Canada.
“It’s not acceptable that our loved ones, the people who spent their lives building our province and caring for our communities, are now being neglected in their final years,” says Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “We have thousands of members working in long-term care who are devastated by the fact that they are not able to provide the level of care their residents need. They have been working for years to try and get the government to bring in the minimum care standards we need. We’re grateful that Andrea Horwath and the NDP are determined to make it a reality.”
“For our members working in the homes, it’s almost like residents are on a conveyer belt. They’re given a check list of tasks that need to be done and they literally have to run from resident to resident checking off the list,” says Rennick. “They’re not able to spend time with the residents on a human level. This is no way for our seniors to spend their final years.”