QUEEN’S PARK — The provincial New Democrats are saying that an announcement by the Ford Government doesn’t go far enough. “Staffing up in long-term care to meet a minimum standard of four hours of hands-on care per resident per day can’t wait another five years”, says the NDP.
“The NDP, alongside families, frontline workers, and experts, have been fighting for this for literally years, including introducing the bill that would make it the law in Ontario four times since 2016,” said NDP long-term care critic Teresa Armstrong. “People living in long-term care have been neglected and put at risk for years. Prior to the pandemic, we had all heard heartbreaking stories of seniors dehydrated, injured without explanation, left to develop bedsores, and not being given the time or the help to eat, dress themselves, bathe or even get to the bathroom. A revolving door of underpaid, part-time workers, like personal support workers, have been run off their feet for years.
“Now, this government is telling an entire generation of long-term care residents that help is five years away. Many cannot wait that long. None should have to.”
Ford announced support for the four-hours of care standard Monday but said he’ll only do it by 2025. Meanwhile, Quebec put a plan in place to hire 10,000 personal support workers after the first wave of COVID-19, so they’d be ready for the second wave. British Columbia hired 7,000 for the second wave. But Ontario lost one-third of its personal support workers, as a result of low-pay, and refusing to give personal support workers full-time jobs, forcing them to work two or three part-time gigs instead.
“We can do this quickly if we make it a priority,” said Armstrong. “I join families and frontline workers in their deep concern that a promise to get these done years from now isn’t much of a promise at all.”
The NDP has laid out its a detailed plan for an overhaul of home care and long-term care, including record spending to eliminate waitlists, build 50,000 new spaces, implement the minimum four hours of care standard, and bring all homes into the public and non-profit sectors.