Union continues to call for immediate action to address the crisis in elder care workplaces
December 18, 2020
Ontario’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan Lacks Urgency: UFCW Locals 175 & 633 continues to call for immediate action to address the crisis in elder care workplaces
Mississauga, ON – December 18, 2020 – In response to the Ontario government’s Long-term Care Staffing Plan released yesterday, Locals 175 & 633 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) continues to call for immediate improvements to the entire eldercare system in Ontario.
“This crisis is happening now. While some of the items in the plan are encouraging, the crisis in long-term care and retirement homes needs immediate action – not a solution for years from now,” said Shawn Haggerty, President of UFCW Local 175.
“Some of the solutions can and should be implemented immediately. We want to see permanent improvements to the wages and employment conditions across the long-term care and retirement sectors now and we continue to call on the Ontario government and Premier Ford to take action.”
The government’s plan discloses targets for increasing direct resident care to get to a four-hour standard by 2024-2025. The plan also includes language about a funding increase of up to $1.9 billion to long-term care by 2024-2025 to address staffing, as well as some details on recruitment and retention programs in order to attract 27,000 new staff.
However, there are very few details on how this will actually be achieved and almost no commitment to actual improvements in the wage or employment conditions in long-term care jobs.
Additionally, UFCW Locals 175 & 633 believes the approach to elder care must improve across the entire sector in Ontario, particularly in the retirement home industry.
The level of care required in retirement homes has risen sharply over the years to reach a level comparable with long-term care. The value-for-money audit of the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority released in December by the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario stated:
“Our audit found that a shift is occurring whereby thousands of beds in retirement homes are being occupied by individuals who have more intense health-care needs than the more active and independent seniors that many retirement homes were designed for. According to Ontario Health, as of March 31, 2020, of the approximately 38,000 people waiting to be placed in long-term care homes, 26%, or about 10,000, were waiting in licensed retirement homes.”
“Eldercare should be a priority concern for the government, especially now during this pandemic,” said Haggerty.
“The entire industry has been in a crisis for decades with the consequences of that neglect more glaringly apparent today than ever before. The Ford government has taken some encouraging action to begin to address the problems but needs to increase the pace and ensure that no one is left behind.”
UFCW Locals 175 & 633 represents more than 70,000 Union Members across Ontario including over 5,000 health care workers in long-term care, retirement home, homecare and congregate care workplaces.
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