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OPSEU/SEFPO paper: improving long-term care requires ‘significant’ investment in PSWs

Improving Ontario’s Long-Term Care means significant investment in our Personal Support Workers
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In a paper sent on Nov. 3 to Health Minister Christine Elliott and Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton, OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the only way to fix long-term care is to give Personal Support Workers the respect and treatment they deserve.

“As you seek solutions and new ways forward, I urge you to focus a significant amount of your attention on the workers who are the system’s heart, soul, and backbone: Personal Support Workers (PSWs),” Thomas wrote to the two ministers.

“In the paper attached, OPSEU/SEFPO members in long-term care assert that the problems in the sector can be largely traced back to the lack of respect paid to PSWs,” Thomas wrote. “Low wages, meagre benefits, and precarious working conditions have all led to the extreme staffing shortages and retention problems plaguing long-term care.

“In short: improve the lot of PSWs, and you’ll dramatically improve the long-term care they can offer.”

Below, you’ll find the letter Thomas wrote to Elliott and Fullerton. And click here to read the paper, “Improving Ontario’s Long-Term Care means significant investment in our Personal Support Workers.”

 

November 3, 2020

Hon. Christine Elliott
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
777 Bay St., 5th Floor
Toronto, ON, M7A 2J3
Email: christine.elliott@pc.ola.org

Hon. Merrilee Fullerton
Minister of Long-Term Care
6th Floor
400 University Ave.
Toronto, ON, M7A 1T7
Email: merrilee.fullerton@pc.ola.org

Dear Ministers Elliott and Fullerton,

I have no doubt you and your ministries are working tirelessly to make our long-term care system safer and healthier for all residents and staff. As we are all painfully aware, the pandemic had made clear that our current system is broken, dangerous, and in need of significant investment and reform.

As you seek solutions and new ways forward, I urge you to focus a significant amount of your attention on the workers who are the system’s heart, soul, and backbone: Personal Support Workers (PSWs).

In the short paper attached, OPSEU/SEFPO members in long-term care assert that the problems in the sector can be largely traced back to the lack of respect paid to PSWs. Low wages, meagre benefits, and precarious working conditions have all led to the extreme staffing shortages and retention problems plaguing long-term care.

In short: improve the lot of PSWs, and you’ll dramatically improve the long-term care they can offer.

I hope you’ll read this paper, and I look forward to hearing your responses.

Sincerely,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU/SEFPO President