Toronto — The Ontario government’s commitment to hire more than four-thousand additional staff this year for Long-Term Care shows front-line workers are being listened to, said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
For years OPSEU/SEFPO has called for more investment in long-term care and during the COVID-19 pandemic stepped up its demands for an immediate and dramatic increase in more staffing for facilities that were hard hit by the virus.
The government said today it will provide up to $270 million this year to Long Term Care facilities so they can hire 4,050 new staff. The announcement came two days after Thomas advised the government to follow up its Throne Speech promises with swift action.
“It is crucial that the government acts fast to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable citizens and the front-line heroes who take care of them,” said Thomas. “We are glad to finally see a government that is following up on its words and doing something.”
The union told the government last year that the province’s public colleges were the best vehicle to train new workers in order to bolster the hard-pressed long-term care workers who have kept facilities together during this deadly pandemic.
OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida noted the government announcement mentioned increasing enrolment in nursing and personal support worker programs.
“Our public colleges are best equipped to prepare new staff to jump into a tough situation in Long-Term Care facilities,” said Almeida. “They have the know-how, and the government must let our skilled faculty and support staff carry the ball on training these workers.”
Thomas says hiring thousands of workers is a promising sign that the government is investing in Ontario’s most important resource, its people.
“Successive governments have starved the public sector for decades and we’ve repeatedly said there must be a change of course,” said Thomas. “I have made the point to the Premier directly and most of his key ministers. I hope that today’s announcement is the start of a new direction that will see proper resources put into the front-line workers that can lead Ontario’s economy out of this pandemic to a full recovery.”
For more information: President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931