MEDIA ADVISORY – Fed Up with Broken Promises, Expanding Privatization, Terrible Inadequacies in Long-Term Care: Health Coalitions Across Plan Cross-Province Protests on Opening Day of the Ontario Legislature

TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — PROTESTS ACROSS ONTARIO MONDAY OCTOBER 4
All events are at 12 pm unless otherwise noted. Public health guidelines will be followed. Accordingly, each protest is limited to 100-people, with mandatory masks & social distancing.

Cornwall: 4 pm at MPP McDonell’s Office, 120 Second St W.
Chatham: MPP Rick Nicholls’ Office, 111 Heritage Rd.
Durham: LTC Minister and local MPP Rod Phillips’ Office, Corner of Rossland & Harwood, Ajax.
Hamilton: Gore Park, Corner of King and James St.
Kawartha Lakes/Lindsay: MPP Laurie Scott’s Office, 14 Lindsay St N.
Kingston: 4 pm at Princess and Concession Sts.
London/St. Thomas: MPP Jeff Yurek’s Office, 1750 Talbot St.
Niagara: MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s Office, King St and Wagner Lane, Beamsville.
North Bay: MPP Vic Fedeli’s Office, 219 Main St.
Oakville: Corner of Navy and Lakeshore Sts.
Ottawa: Human Rights Statue at City Hall, Elgin and Lisgar Sts.
Sudbury: Front Gate of Civic Memorial Cemetery, 365 Second Ave.
Toronto: Queen’s Park outside the Main Legislative Building (main south facing doors).
Thunder Bay: Mini Queen’s Park, 436 James St.
Waterloo: Waterloo Public Square, 75 King St S.
Windsor: Dieppe Park- Great Canadian Flag, Ouellette Ave.
Woodstock: MPP Ernie Hardeman’s Office, 12 Perry St.

Background:

It has been more than a year since the military report exposed, to the horror of Canadians, the state of Ontario’s long-term care (LTC). The report lent credence to decades of work by the Ontario Health Coalition exposing insufficient care, safety issues and lack of accountability. Despite massive media coverage through the pandemic, and despite promises and emotional press conferences by Doug Ford, there has been no real improvement in the understaffing and care crisis. For-profit operators have taken their profits throughout the pandemic yet have not been held accountable to actually provide the safety and care for which they are funded.

In fact, the Ford government passed legislation last fall to shield the operators from liability for their negligence. It has continued to fund empty beds for operators without requiring them to increase actual care levels. It deregulated existing standards to enable LTC corporations to replace PSWs with untrained staff and forgo the requirement to have even one single Registered Nurse at all times. Many announced initiatives that sounded good in press conferences have been left to the discretion of LTC operators without any accountability or enforcement. There have been numerous staff in the Ford government, as well as former leaders and key advisors to Ford and the Ontario Conservative Party, that have come from- or gone to- the for-profit long-term care industry, or have lobbied for them.

The Coalition is shocked that there has been no accountability for the horrors that we continue to see. Not one long-term care home has been fined. Since it took office, the Ford government has been sitting on the power to fine the home operators– which was passed by the previous government– and has failed to enact it. Annual comprehensive surprise inspections of each home, discontinued by the Ford government after it took power, have not been reinstated. Not one long-term care operator has lost its license.

Now the Ford government is proposing to give new 30-year licenses and even expansions to for-profit operators with horrific records. The new Long-Term Care Minister is proposing to amend the LTC law, perhaps as early as next week. Yet the government has refused to consult with key public interest advocates, and has consistently failed to enforce the already existent strong provisions in the current Act. The Coalition is extremely concerned, warning that there is a high risk that the Ford government will make the Act worse and give more rewards to the for-profits.

The Ontario Health Coalition has called for cross-province protests on the day that the Ontario Legislature is scheduled to open. The demands are clear and the Coalition will not accept any more empty words and broken promises:

  • Immediate action to fast-track increases in care levels and staffing to meet residents’ care needs;

  • Enforcement of care standards through reinstatement of annual surprise inspections, and real accountability through fines, loss of license for repeated non-compliance. Repeal the Act shielding LTC operators from lawsuits for negligence;

  • End for-profit LTC, and;

  • Ensure the human rights of LTC residents are upheld, including an end to unlawful detention, isolation and ensure full access to caregivers and families.

For more information:

For Ontario and Toronto, Natalie Mehra executive director (416) 230-6402.
Cornwall, Elaine MacDonald (613) 330-3117; Chatham, Shirley Roebuck (226) 402-2724; Durham, Charlie Courneyea (416) 557-5935; Hamilton, Janina Lebon (905) 545-5514; Kawartha Lakes, Bonnie Kennedy (416) 567-1163; Kingston, Matthew Gventer (613) 542-5834; London, Peter Bergmanis (519) 860-4403; Niagara, Sue Hotte (905) 932-1646;
North Bay, Henri Giroux (705)-471-7746; Oakville, Anne Douglas (905) 842-3451; Ottawa, Ed Cashman (343) 999-6886;
Sudbury, Dot Klein (705) 566-9072; Thunder Bay, Jules Tupker (807) 577-5946; Waterloo, Jim Stewart (519) 588-5841;
Windsor, Patrick Hannon (519) 796-0410; Woodstock, Bryan J. Smith (226)-228-8309.

The Ontario Health Coalition works to improve public health care in the public interest and in accordance with the principles of the Canada Health Act. We represent thousands of LTC families and residents; patient advocates; seniors’ organizations and retirees’ groups; unions representing tens of thousands of care workers; health professionals and nurses; physicians; concerned citizens; cultural groups; women’s groups and more.


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