Canada’s unions welcome improved long-term care standard —but demand an end to for-profit care

January 31, 2023

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions welcome improvements to the National Long-Term Care Services Standard but they must be even stronger. The standard released today focus on resident-centered care, a model of senior care that is accommodating and respectful of the resident’s personal wishes and that works directly with the health workers providing the care.

“We are happy to see the government prescribe a new standard that mean residents should be able to live in long-term care residences where they will receive the care they deserve,” said Bea Bruske, Canadian Labour Congress President. “But today’s announcement provides no mandatory obligation to use the new standard,” added Bruske.

A week from today, the Prime Minister will be meeting with the premiers to talk about health care funding. Canada’s unions believe it is crucial that long-term care be brought entirely into the public system and regulated under the Canada Health Act.

“In the first months of the pandemic, more than 81 percent of COVID-19 deaths were in long-term care and retirement homes. It is a tragedy,” said Bruske. “We need the government to act urgently to put a stop to for-profit ownership of long-term care homes. For-profit long-term care homes have fewer staff, fewer hours of care per resident per day, lower pay, and more job insecurity,” added Bruske.

Another pressing issue is the shortage of staff in long-term care homes. More for-profit residences will not solve staffing issues, they will only take care workers out of the public system into the private sector.

Canada’s unions are urging the government to act on its promise to table a Safe Long-Term Care Act to ensure that seniors are guaranteed the care they deserve, no matter where they live.

“Governments should keep seniors safe by removing for-profit corporations from the sector, requiring proper staffing and health and safety protections for workers, and raising wages and benefits as well as providing pension plans for long-term care workers,” added Bruske. “This is about strengthening and expanding our public care system—ultimately improving access for Canadians.”

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