Ontario Government Dereliction of Duty Continues in 
Long-Term Care Homes

Communities Across Ontario Participate in Long-Term Care Day of Action

Twenty-five communities across Ontario held events on October 8, the Day of Action called by the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) for improvements in long-term care (LTC) in Ontario. People set up pickets in front of the offices of MPPs, held rallies and car cavalcades, including one at the provincial Legislature in Toronto.

Despite eight months' experience since the onset of the pandemic and the dismal failure of Ontario to protect seniors and their caregivers throughout the first wave, the situation in the LTC system in Ontario remains dire. The demands raised across Ontario on October 8 included calls for immediate government action to address staffing shortages, to enforce the minimum standards of care recommended by the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario and others, for adequate protection for frontline health care workers, and to put an end to for-profit delivery of long-term care services.

Speaking at a press conference at Queen's Park in Toronto, OHC Executive Director Natalie Mehra said there are currently large COVID-19 outbreaks in Toronto and Ottawa and increasing outbreaks in regions across Southern Ontario. "The Coalition has been tracking outbreaks since early March and has now counted 51 currently active outbreaks in long-term care homes and 40 outbreaks in retirement homes across Ontario," she said.

Jane Meadus, a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, echoed the concerns about inadequate care in her statement. She said: "Residents' conditions have deteriorated as a result of isolation, loneliness, and inadequate care. Family caregivers cannot be shut out again and staffing and care levels must be addressed as a priority."

Dr. Amit Arya, a palliative care physician in long-term care homes and an OHC board member said: "The second wave is already impacting long-term care facilities. Every day of inaction counts. Ontario needs to change the way we are addressing this crisis situation now." Dr. Arya went on to call for a legislated staffing standard that would result in four hours of hands-on care, and noted it needs to be enforceable. He said that the government needs to put its full weight and resources behind reaching that target.

"We need to ensure that all the staff have access to full-time work, a living wage, sick leave and are only in one long-term care home. Residents need their family caregivers and that needs to be protected in law. Medical teams need to be ready to stand by and provide support and intervention early when there are outbreaks," he stated.

Below Workers' Forum reports on a recent briefing in which the OHC sheds light on current outbreaks in LTC facilities and staffing shortages and government attempts to disinform the public with its numerous recent funding announcements.

(Photos: WF, OHC, Unifor, F. Hahn)

This article was published in

Number 69 - October 13, 2020

Article Link:
Ontario Government Dereliction of Duty Continues in : Communities Across Ontario Participate in Long-Term Care Day of Action


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