Tuesday August 24, 2021 | NATIONAL [Updated: 1:07 pm August 24, and 5:10 pm August 25]
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
Getting profit out of long-term care was the key focus of the NDP Leader’s campaign media session today (Day 10 of the 44th federal election campaign).
Speaking out front of the headquarters of the Revera for-profit care home company in Mississauga, Ontario Jagmeet Singh equated profit in long-term care with poor care and even with deaths has been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020.
Being in long-term care “shouldn’t be a death sentence,” he told media today. And he added that “the best place for people to age is in their home”.
Singh acknowledged that the process would require working with the provinces, as the delivery of health care is a provincial responsibility. “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s essential,” he said.
Singh vowed to end for-profit long-term care and committed to a Care Guarantee for seniors, families and workers. Like other for-profit care homes, Revera turned a profit while seniors and residents died of neglect in their care homes, it was stated by the NDP today.
In the 43rd parliament under the Liberal minority government, a vote to remove profit from long-term care failed, Singh reminded about today.
It is known that during the COVID pandemic — particularly in the earlier waves — that some for-profit care homes cut back on the costs of personal protective equipment and in some cases paying for additional labour hours.
The NDP idea is that long-term care should be part of Canada’s overall health-care system (which is free to all Canadians) and not a separate sector of care that is run as a business.
Today the NDP pledge was to develop national care standards, with accountability measures, and to boost wages and support for long-term care workers. The plan is to take profit out of long-term care by removing control from big corporations and banning any new for-profit care homes. He committed to a Care Guarantee for long-term care residents, their families and workers that ensure the best care possible for our loved ones.
Local long-term care:
It should be noted that here on Vancouver Island that the provincial Island Health Authority has been extremely vigilant about standards of care in long-term care. Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr Richard Stanwick said last year that every complaint is investigated immediately and vigorously. COVID levels were lower in long-term care facilities on Vancouver Island than in the BC lower mainland areas.
“Here in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford and across the country, many seniors aren’t getting the safe, dignified care they deserve,” says NDP incumbent Alistair MacGregor. “This has been more evident than ever through the pandemic, but Justin Trudeau continues to support companies that put profit ahead of people. The NDP’s Care Guarantee will mean national care standards, accountability measures, and increased wages for workers, so families know their loved ones are getting the care they need and deserve.”
“We need to fix long-term care in this country,” says Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke NDP incumbent Randall Garrison. “We can start by establishing national standards for long-term care to make sure that people are receiving the highest quality of care no matter where they live,” said Garrison this week.
Garrison points out that the pandemic has brought this issue to the forefront. “We saw that private for-profit long-term care homes had the worst outcomes.” He says that a New Democrat government would put an end to private, for-profit long-term care. “We will work with the provinces and territories to make sure that funds go to providing the best quality care to patients rather than putting profits in the pockets of corporations.”
“We need to make sure there are long-term care facilities in every community because we know that seniors do better when they are able to stay close to their family and neighbours,” Garrison told Island Social Trends this week.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made a campaign stop at a long-term care facility in Victoria last week, speaking to media outdoors during the ongoing pandemic.
BC: COVID vaccination now mandatory in long-term care (August 12, 2021)
Island Health: COVID outbreaks in long-term care (January 12, 2021)
Islanders doing an exceptional job keeping COVID rates low says Dr Stanwick (September 25, 2020)