Given that this Riding and Cobourg in particular has a higher than average demographic of seniors, the last question in this series should be of particular local interest: How will you ensure Seniors get good Long Term Care? This issue got a good deal of interest during the pandemic since Long Term Care homes seemed to have a high proportion of Covid-19 cases and deaths.
This is the fourth and last question in the series of questions I have asked of Election Candidates. If you missed the earlier questions or need a refresher, see the Resources below.
I would like to thank all candidates for their cooperation in providing responses – they make my job easier.
I have tried to keep the presentation of these Election articles neutral – this time the sequence is reverse alphabetical Party name.
I plan a final article in this series on May 26 – it will attempt to summarize and indicate reader interest in each of the questions. Then of course I will cover the election results – hopefully on June 3.
David Piccini – PC Party
For decades, long-term care was neglected by governments of all stripes, and the pandemic showed the impact that this has had on the system. No one got it right…but we made the commitment to finally address the situation.
We’re the Government fixing this!
Our PC government established an average of 4 hours of daily direct care into legislation; we’ve invested $4.9 billion into the training and hiring of staff in long term care that will recruit more than 27,000 personal support workers, nurses and doctors to Ontario.
- Here’s our track record on some of the historic work we are doing to fix long-term care in Northumberland-Peterborough South over the past four years:
- Building 469 new and 927 upgraded long-term care beds across Northumberland-Peterborough South;
- New builds from Norwood to Newcastle; Brighton to Port Hope;
- Expanding Ontario’s Community Paramedicine program to Northumberland County
This historic investment in new, modern and safe spaces for our loved ones stands in stark contrast to the Liberal Party – they only built 611 long-term care beds from 2011 to 2018.
In Northumberland Peterborough South, our PC government has built 1,396 new or upgraded long term care beds in our community alone, double what the Liberals did across the whole province over 7 years.
Vanessa Head – Ontario Party
As the Ontario Party, we believe that family is the bedrock of our communities. We also believe in every Ontarian has the right to good medical care. I would refer you to our health care policies, as well as promotion of family connection with elders in care.
For more details on our policies, we recommend visiting our platform at www.ontarioparty.ca
Kim McArthur-Jackson – New Democratic Party
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the disaster lurking in long-term care. More than 4,000 people died, alone and in pain.
We will make long-term care public and non-profit. The Ontario NDP will phase out for-profit operators within eight years and put an end to long-term care that puts profits over senior care by legislating smaller, family-like municipal and non-profit long term care homes.
- We will fund 50,000 new long-term care spaces by 2030.
- Our investment will focus on expanding the not-for-profit and municipal sector, where funding goes to patient care instead of profit.
- We will establish a legislated minimum of four hours hands-on care for every long-term care resident in Ontario, not just a target to be reached in the future. We will properly fund homes to ensure staffing needs to meet minimum hours of care.
- We will legislate a minimum of 70% full-time workers and wage parity for healthcare workers in LTC as well as paid sick days.
- We will continue to support the right for residents to have access to designated caregivers and for spouses not to be separated against their will.
- As part of our commitment to publicly-funded dental care for all seniors without retiree benefits, we’ll work with long-term care providers to ensure that residents have full access to publicly-funded dental services for seniors.
- We’ll scrap Bill 124, Doug Ford’s unfair wage cap bill, which disadvantages non-profit long-term care homes and prevents them from retaining staff and create a strategy to address violence against healthcare workers.
Joshua Chalhoub – New Blue Party
I would prefer not to use the term “long-term care”, but rather, long-term services. For years, we have thought of long-care in the context of LTC facilities or retirement homes. The first step in addressing this issue is to rethink how we deliver care and services to seniors and re-define the expectations while bridging the concept of quality of life. For many seniors, quality of life means remaining in their homes for as long as possible. While we have limited in-home and assisted living programs available, those programs are underfunded, lack sufficient staffing, training and are saddled by layers of bureaucracy leaving them unsustainable and inefficient. Assisted living innovation could offer an opportunity whereby seniors would receive a more natural and dignified quality of life. Improving upon these programs while expanding the level and frequency of care would reduce the burden on provincially funded facilities allowing seniors to remain home longer and in control.
Additional LTC beds are required for those where other programs are not an option while reducing wait lists. We must ensure that proper legislation exists to maintain accountability, compliance enforcement and transparency by operators. The province must be committed to reforms. Everything from outdated structures, poor training, staffing issues, PSW regulations and infectious disease preparedness must be addressed as a priority. We have failed our seniors, failed their families and most importantly failed to treat seniors with respect and dignity that they deserve. No person should suffer alone – no senior should have died alone.
Jeff Kawzenuk – Liberal Party
- Help 400,000 more seniors get home care by 2026
- Increase funding for home care by 10% annually prioritizing non-profit care
- Fund assisted living alternatives and “hub and spoke” community care
- Create a dementia care network
- Fully fund the clinical costs for hospices.
We’ll guarantee that any senior who needs care in their own home gets it by increasing the annual budget for home and community care by over $2 billion.
We’ll also fund 15,000 new assisted living homes.
- End for-profit long-term care as quickly as possible with a target of 2028
- Place audits, inspections and zero-tolerance sanctions on long-term care homes that endanger residents or misdirect funds.
- Repeal rules that protect long-term care companies from legal liability.
- Build and redevelop 58,000 new non-profit long-term care spaces
- Ensure seniors in long-term care homes receive at least four hours of direct care every day.
- We’ll also fund 15,000 new assisted living homes.
Lisa Francis – Green Party
It’s time to restore dignity to elders and commit to putting care and compassion over profits. Now is the time to invest in and deliver an equitable, accessible, and comprehensive healthcare system that Ontarians deserve.
The Ontario Green Party’s health care plan respects personal support workers and other healthcare workers and works to retain them rather than burn them out.
Neglect and cost-cutting from successive governments, along with a weak pandemic response, has resulted in a tragic humanitarian crisis.
We will build 55,000 long-term care beds by 2033 and at least 96,000 by 2041 to meet growing demand. We will increase base funding for long-term care by 10%. We will increase funding to home care services by 20% so that people can safely stay in their homes longer.
Until we repeal Bill 124 and resolve the problematic issues in Bill 106, we will provide a minimum hourly wage of $25 to PSWs.
Ontario Greens’ have a plan to make it easier for elders to age in place, with dignity, and real support. Our solutions will replace the profit motive in long-term care, with a real commitment to give each Ontarian the care they need.
Note that with one exception, all the answers/responses in this series came from the Candidates themselves and not from their party. However, in general, any statements by Candidates will be in-line with their party’s policies.
Previous questions and responses
- What are your Policies to improve the Province’s Health System?
- How will you make Housing more affordable?
- What are your policies on the Environment and sustainability?