TORONTO, ON – Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, made the following statement:
Today Doug Ford flip flopped on his earlier commitment to build 15,000 long-term care beds between 2018 and 2023. Today CTV is reporting that his government has confirmed that only 4,000 beds will be built or redeveloped by 2022. Furthermore, the measures announced today will do nothing to help parents and grandparents in nursing homes right now, including those crammed into 4 person wards. Flu season and a potential second wave of COVID-19 are on the horizon, but Doug Ford has no plan to fix the ongoing crisis in long term care by fixing the staffing shortage.
We all welcome funding for new beds, but it doesn’t change the fact that this government has neglected to build a single new long term care bed since they came into power. In fact, the government has even left funding approved by the previous Liberal government to build new beds unspent.
Let’s remember that Personal Support Workers (PSWs) never got the basic PPE they asked for and it took the Ford government over a month to make sure PSWs worked in one location only.
It’s been reported that Minister Fullerton twice brought proposals to Treasury Board to ask for additional funding. Twice she was denied.
Why did it take news reports for the government to act? If the Premier was serious he would raise the standard of care for residents and create full time PSW and nursing jobs to stabilize the sector.
Steven Del Duca and the Ontario Liberal caucus are proposing seven immediate suggestions to better protect personal support workers (PSWs), nurses and the public:
- Raise the standard of care that is provided, including number of baths given and the quality of food that’s served;
- Bring back paid sick leave (Doug Ford eliminated the mandatory paid sick days brought forward by the previous Liberal government);
- Create a structure where PSWs and nurses are able to work in full time jobs earning a living wage;
Hire as many PSWs and nurses across the province necessary to make sure seniors get the care they need;
- Provide access to personal protective equipment (PPE), regular testing, and mental health supports for PSWs and nurses and their families;
- All homes must be inspected in person twice a year, via unannounced visits. Infractions or violations by homes must be met with harsh financial penalties;
- Create an aggressive, thorough and publicly available rating system for Ontario’s long-term care homes.
This all must be undertaken in consultation organized labour and stakeholders across the province.