Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says new research by the Canadian Medical Association showing that long-term care residents have been nearly twice as likely to get sick and die in private facilities is yet another piece of growing evidence that the province must eliminate privatization from the industry.
“We don’t need any more studies – it’s time for action,” said Thomas. “It’s time to take profit out of long-term care.”
The medical association study confirmed earlier findings by media outlets like the Toronto Star and Global News that the vast majority of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths have occurred in for-profit long-term care homes. All of the studies point to private homes’ lower staffing and pay levels as a likely factor in lower levels of care and increased deaths.
“For years, we’ve been trying to raise the alarm about the dangers of understaffing and low pay,” said Joan Corradetti, a frontline long-term care worker and the chair of OPSEU’s Long Term Care sector. “We don’t do this work because we’re trying to get rich. We just want to provide the best quality of care to our residents, and that’s nearly impossible when private owners keep demanding that we do more with less so they can maximize their profits.”
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida said he hopes the Ford government will start looking at the facts and stop listening to the growing list of former Conservative insiders being paid by the private long-term care industry.
“Former Conservative Premier Mike Harris is the chair of one of the biggest private long-term care owners in the province and a number of former Conservative staffers are now registered lobbyists for the private long-term care industry,” said Almeida. “It’s time for the Premier to ask himself where his loyalties lie: with party insiders looking to get rich, or with the people of Ontario just trying to survive this pandemic.”
Thomas said that as studies show the dangers of private long-term care, the British Columbia government is showing the benefits of public long-term care.
“I’ve always said that public is better, and you just have to compare Ontario to British Columbia to see that it’s true,” said Thomas. “Nearly 3,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Ontario’s long-term care homes. But in B.C., where the government took over all long-term care homes early in the pandemic, less than 200 people have died.”
“How many more Ontario seniors have to die before we do the right thing and make all long-term care public?”
For more information:
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931