As we emerge from COVID-19, we hang on to the knowledge that we must take care of each other. Watching the death toll increase in the pandemic, we were outraged to discover seniors’ homes were disproportionately impacted. Far too many seniors in Canada were being warehoused in for-profit housing facilities with inadequate levels of care. Reform of eldercare is long overdue.
We rely on evidence in reopening our society; unshuttering our economy. Globally, we are both collaborating and competing in the search for a vaccine. Evidence tells us that search must be grounded in non-profit, non-patented incentives to ensure any new vaccine is proven safe and is available for free globally.
Through the pandemic we have learned that we must urgently strengthen our health-care system for seniors, support for front-line workers, children, the marginalized, and especially mental health-care services. Many Canadians have reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted by this crisis, which will place even more strain on an already overburdened mental health-care network. The threat to mental health is the echo-pandemic.
- Seniors and their caregivers
- We call for a national inquiry into seniors’ care pre-pandemic with possible criminal prosecution.
- There should be no private ownership of seniors’ care and living, rather public ownership and/or non-profit management structures. There should also be a variety of housing options available.
- We want seniors’ care to be under the Canada Health Act.
- Enforced national standards for eldercare and staffing should be developed.
- Agreements for care should be negotiated with provincial governments through the Council of Canadian Governments.
- Commit to improve resident safety via standard national guidelines for personal support workers which: cover minimum staffing levels in care homes; require more full-time staff who are properly paid, so there is no need for workers to work in multiple facilities; and improves both continuity and quality of eldercare and provides better working conditions for staff.
- Invest in training and education to support ongoing professional development and specialization.
- Fund transformative dementia care.
- Encourage innovative solutions to increase availability of the following within care homes: space for patients under quarantine; access to rapid testing; and appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Fully fund high-dose flu vaccines and expansion of pneumococcal coverage for all Canadians over 65, especially those in congregate settings.
- A vaccine to protect us all
- For a just recovery, a new vaccine must be free – big pharma must not profit.
- We must prioritize vaccine distribution to vulnerable populations.
- We must invest in research to develop a vaccine and treatment. Going forward we need to increase funding in essential medical research and related science.
- We need national mental health standards and immediate investments in both community-based service organizations and provincial and municipal mental health services to cope with the trauma and anxiety the pandemic is leaving in its wake.
- Canada needs a national suicide prevention plan to prevent an increase in death by suicide.
- Universal childcare and early childhood education are crucial components in developing comprehensive care for all Canadians. It is time for federally funded and mandated programs.
- Implement national universal pharmacare.
- We must protect, listen to, and amplify the voices of women, including trans women, girls, femme-identified and non-binary people, racialized women and women of colour, Indigenous women and immigrant women.
- In Canada we must increase the urgency of addressing the ongoing issue of domestic abuse and violence. We commit to fighting misogyny and call for greater funding for community resources specifically for the most marginalized women. We commit to meeting the calls to action in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry.