OTTAWA -- Throughout the pandemic, the Green Party of Canada has been sounding the alarm about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in long-term care homes across Canada. Last fall, Green MP Paul Manly (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) presented a petition calling on the government to create national standards for care and staffing levels in long term care (LTC) facilities under the Canada Health Act, and to eliminate profit-making by government-funded LTC facilities.
In January, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul called on the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of First Ministers to agree on an urgent action plan to address the LTC crisis. Since then, the Green Party has held numerous Town Halls and Roundtable discussions on the issue, offering a platform for renowned experts in LTC, geriatrics, gerontology and nursing to share their recommended solutions. Yesterday, MP Manly presented Motion M-77 calling for immediate improvements to LTC.
"What has unfolded during the pandemic has been a preventable humanitarian crisis," said Ms. Paul. "Thousands have died because of the abject failure to meet the needs of people living in these facilities. And it’s not just seniors, but also people with special needs and disabilities."
“The Green Party has long been outspoken on the urgent need to reform the management and care provided in LTC homes,” said Ms. Paul. “In our 2019 Platform we said that senior care must not be limited to care homes, but should include investment in innovative home-sharing plans and other measures that would allow people to remain in their own homes as long as possible. Well before the pandemic, the Party was highlighting the serious problems of substandard care and poor working conditions in private-for profit LTCs and in particular foreign owned LTCs. And last October, we voted against the government’s Speech from the Throne precisely because there was no commitment to urgent action on behalf of those living in LTC facilities.
“In January, we provided an urgent action plan to save lives and ensure dignity during the pandemic. Now we have put forward a robust plan that is based on numerous consultations with LTC advocates and health experts, and their recommendations. Components of the plan include:
- Increasing and stabilising staffing in LTC homes and improving training, fair pay for workers and paid sick leave;
- Taking the profit out of LTC facilities and reorienting long-term care towards community-based models;
- Setting a national standard of four hours of regulated care per day for each LTC resident;
- Ensuring safe family access to LTC facilities;
- Investment in training and education to support ongoing professional development and specialization for LTC workers;
- Enforcement of standards of care through accountability and penalties, including criminal prosecution;
- Shifting LTC policy towards community care, such as naturally occurring retirement communities, co-housing models, and enhanced home support programs.
“This is a crisis that could have been prevented had our LTC residents been made a priority,” said Ms. Paul. “Sadly, and incomprehensibly, many families, including my own, have avoidably lost loved ones without even being able to say goodbye. Experts point out that we had the solutions all along, but what was lacking was political will.
"As always, the Green Party of Canada seeks to work collaboratively with all political parties to implement solutions that will ensure that LTC residents have the dignity and quality of life they deserve.”
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