Toronto – OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas welcomes the news that Ontario’s Long-Term Care sector will get a massive injection of funding, and says Ontario’s government is moving in the right direction by building up capacity in the public, not-for-profit sector.
The Ontario government has announced it will invest $933 million in 80 new long-term care projects, in a move to fulfill its commitment to add 30,000 new long-term care spaces over ten years, saying that these projects will add 7,510 new spaces – 63 per cent of which will be delivered by the not-for-profit and municipal sectors.
“After years of pressure, this government is actually listening and that’s great news,” said Thomas. “They realize that fixing long-term care for the long-term means building up our public capacity.
“We’ve seen what a disaster privatized care has been during the pandemic,” said Thomas. “It’s time to do better. The transition won’t happen overnight, but we’re headed in the right direction, finally.”
In addition to adding new spaces, the government plans to upgrade thousands of existing spaces in an effort to reduce waitlists. OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says that after a year of COVID-19, resident care must be the top priority.
“Long-Term Care residents have suffered the most during these difficult times,” said Almeida. “They deserve the highest quality of care possible and that means publicly-funded and operated facilities, it means more inspectors and it means a four hour minimum of hands on care, per resident per day.
“It’ll take a bold vision and big investment, but our loved ones are worth it,” said Almeida. “We’re thrilled to see this government moving in the right direction and giving our long-term care system the much-needed attention it deserves.”
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thomas has argued that more spaces will also mean better infection and prevention control, as residents are moved out of cramped quarters.
“This funding will save lives,” said Thomas. “It’s also going to alleviate pressures on our hospitals and our entire health care system. This is the first government in decades to take meaningful action on long-term care, and it just goes to show that Ford gets it.”