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Government placing too many long-term care beds into private hands: OPSEU/SEFPO

OPSEU Long-Term Care newsletter cover, October 2014
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Toronto – OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick says the Ford government’s boast of thousands of new long-term care beds is actually setting Ontario up for another tragedy like the one we witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government issued a statement on Thursday saying it’s on track to fulfil a commitment to create 30,000 new long-term care beds by 2028, but Hornick says most of those beds are going to for-profit facilities.

“The evidence has shown residents were far more likely to die in for-profit long-term care facilities than in publicly run homes during the pandemic,” said Hornick. “OPSEU/SEFPO has consistently said that we need to take for profit out of long-term care, and it’s frankly alarming that this government is not listening to us when people’s lives are at stake.”

The Ontario Health Coalition has pointed out that most of the government’s promised 30,000 beds are going to privately run facilities, and three-quarters of the beds handed to the profiteers were awarded to 10 large chain companies that had appalling track records during the pandemic.

“This government has clearly not learned from COVID-19 and is leaving Ontario open for another tragedy if there is a future public health crisis,” said Hornick. “Privatization is never the answer when people’s lives are involved.”

OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Laurie Nancekivell says the other component is the fact that Ontario is still woefully short of inspectors to ensure standards are being met in these for-profit homes.

“There aren’t enough inspectors to monitor the beds we have now,” said Nancekivell.  “It will be impossible to provide oversight for 30,000 more beds, most of them in privately run facilities that offer worse conditions for residents than publicly run homes. We need more inspectors, now.”

Hornick says OPSEU/SEFPO will be campaigning against privatization during the election campaign, especially in long-term care

“Our members will only support political parties that commit to ending the privatization of public services,” said Hornick. “We can never again put people’s lives in the hands of greedy corporations that only care about profits.”

For more information: Steve Fairbairn, Supervisor of Communications 416-802-1074.  OPSEUCommunications@opseu.org