Long term care homes have been hit hardest by COVID-19 in Canada, accounting for 81% of our country’s COVID-19 related deaths.
While the global pandemic has laid bare many serious problems in our long term care homes, it did not cause these problems. Our existing system did.
Canada’s long term care system incentivizes substandard seniors care by the for-profit sector. Corporations squeeze profits out of our healthcare system through neglecting vulnerable seniors, paying workers low wages, and using vague accounting practices.
Foreign ownership is also a major problem. Nanaimo Seniors Village was one of 23 facilities owned by Retirement Concepts, which was purchased by the Chinese corporation Anbang Insurance with federal approval. Conditions for seniors became so deplorable that Vancouver Island Health Authority had to take control of four Retirement Concepts facilities.
I flagged concerns about foreign ownership and substandard care in privately-owned long term care facilities last summer, when I wrote to Ministers Bains and Goodale about the issue. I have since spoken in the House of Commons multiple times urging the government to address the problem. Sadly, we have now witnessed the terrible consequences of our inaction.
We have failed to protect seniors and this has been one of the harshest lessons of the pandemic. It’s time to fix long term care. We need a national inquiry into this tragedy, national standards, and a seniors strategy.
Seniors, long term care workers, and their families deserve better. Please sign and share this petition.
COVID-19 has exposed degradation of care to seniors and instability of the workforce;
Privatization and deregulation have eroded the care seniors receive;
Government-funded profit-making long-term care (LTC) facilities profit at a cost to seniors, front-line workers and taxpayers;
The number of direct-care hours per resident is neither standardized nor regulated;
LTC facilities aren’t accountable for how direct-care funding is spent;
Government-funded profit-making LTC facilities profit by not providing the number of hours of direct care for which they are funded;
Profit is made by underpaying and overworking front-line staff, leading to high turnover and employment in multiple facilities;
Profit is made by contracting out food, laundry and other services to the lowest bidder;
Government doesn’t have an effective monitoring system to identify substandard care in LTC facilities, nor enforceable consequences; and
Family members or councils are often the first to identify inadequate care.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
Include long-term care in the public health system, by creating national standards for care and staffing levels under the Canada Health Act and ensure accountability;
Eliminate profit-making by government-funded LTC facilities and ensure funds are spent as allocated and ban sub-contracting;
Standardize equitable and living wages and benefits, and implement single-site employment, for all staff;
Strengthen government oversight and initiate strong penalties and claw backs for facilities not complying with regulations;
Require independent family councils with protected rights.