OTTAWA — With Extendicare West End Villa still in active COVID-19 outbreak, Jeremy Roberts, Conservative MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean, helped defeat an NDP motion Tuesday aimed at better protecting seniors by replacing for-profit long-term care with a fully public and not-for-profit system.
Seniors were likelier to lose their lives to COVID-19 in for-profit long-term care homes than in municipal or not-for-profit homes during the first wave of the pandemic. As of today, 61 people have died at Carlingview Manor, and 20 people have died at Extendicare West End Villa.
“Families have lost their loved ones, seniors have suffered extreme neglect, and we know things have been worse in for-profit long-term care homes,” said NDP Seniors critic Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre). “The horrors revealed by the pandemic should be the last straw for greedy corporations, who have cut corners to pile up profits for their shareholders at the expense of our elders for years now.
“The Liberals and Conservatives helped their CEO and lobbyist friends lead us into this crisis, by allowing them to warehouse seniors in chronically understaffed, institution-like facilities. More and more privatization has meant more stories of seniors developing bed sores, or getting hospitalized for dehydration and malnourishment. And it has meant more neglect and unfamiliar faces, because there’s a revolving door of part-time, underpaid staff.”
The NDP is fighting to change all this, by overhauling home care and long-term care to ensure better care for seniors. Ending for-profit long-term care, and moving to a fully public, not-for-profit system, is a critical part of that plan.
“It’s our job to stand up as legislators and say 'no more' when we see injustices like private companies cutting corners on care and staffing at the expense of seniors,” said Harden. “That’s why I voted in favour of replacing for-profit long-term care with a fully public and not-for-profit system, and it’s a real let down for local families that Mr. Roberts didn’t do the same.”
Text of Andrea Horwath’s motion
Whereas successive Conservative and Liberal governments built a system where big, private corporations warehouse seniors in institutional facilities, and have failed to hold accountable for-profit long-term care operators who did not keep their residents safe; and
Whereas more than two-thirds of COVID-19-related deaths occurred in long-term care homes during the first wave of the pandemic, with data revealing that COVID-19 deaths were more frequent in for-profit long-term care homes than those operated by municipalities or non-profit organizations; and
Whereas not-for-profit long-term care means more money is available for care, not profits;
Therefore, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario calls on the Ford Government to eliminate for-profit care from Ontario’s long-term care system.
The Official Opposition’s plan: Aging Ontarians Deserve the Best
The NDP plan includes:
Overhauling home care to help people live at home longer
Ending the for-profit, understaffed patchwork of home care companies that make seniors wait and fail to address the inequities. This includes bringing the system into the public and non-profit sectors over eight years, as well as new provincial standards for home care services, and culturally-appropriate resources, training and job-matching
Making all long-term care public and not-for-profit
Ending greedy profit-making at the expense of quality of care. Horwath is committing to phase out for-profit operators within eight years, and increasing financial reporting, transparency and accountability during the transition period.
Building small, modern, family-like homes
The gloom of being warehoused in institution-like facilities is over. An NDP government will immediately start building small nursing homes that actually feel like home. Based on best practices from around the world, the NDP will build smaller living spaces shared by groups of six to 10 people. In a small town, it could look like a typical family home. In bigger cities, it could look more like a neighbourhood of villas.
Staffing up with full-time, well-paid, well-trained caregivers
Instead of the revolving door of staff run off their feet, the NDP will give personal support workers a permanent wage boost of $5 an hour over their pre-pandemic wages. The NDP will mandate enough staff to guarantee at least 4.1 hours of hands-on care per resident per day, establish a dedicated fund for training personal support workers, and more.
Making family caregivers partners
The NDP will treat loved ones like more than just visitors, including creating a provincial Caregiver Benefit Program and ensuring every home has an active family and resident council.
Creating culturally responsive, inclusive and affirming care
The NDP will make sure seniors feel at home, surrounded by their language and culture, and make sure 2SLGBTQIA+ seniors can always live with Pride. This includes partnering with communities, Indigenous nations and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities to fund community homes, and more.
Clearing the wait list
Clearing the 38,000-person wait list that can mean years waiting for a bed, and even longer for a culturally appropriate home. The NDP will create up to 50,000 spaces and eliminate the wait list within eight years.
Guaranteeing new and stronger protections
Comprehensive inspections, a Seniors’ Advocate, and more will ensure care never goes downhill again.