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Toronto, Feb 5: The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario’s campaign on long-term care has won a major victory. Led by CUPE Ontario and its long-term care locals, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), and the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), the campaign to strengthen Bill 140 for the benefit of both residents and front line workers is making a major difference.

On January 26, the same day as CUPE Ontario locals picketed MPP offices across the province, the Liberal government announced that it would make changes to the proposed long-term care act, including amendments to:

• Establish staffing and care standards;
• Reduce reporting paperwork associated with the new act;
• Extend licence terms to allow for more certainty for operators;
• Recognize the government’s support of the not-for-profit long-term care homes sector.

Alongside a strong CUPE presence at public hearings conducted in four cities, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan and the OHC’s Natalie Mehra engaged in almost daily talks with senior officials in the Health Minister’s office. 

Twelve years after the Harris government eliminated standards of care, CUPE Ontario and others have overcome a very difficult hurdle and moved the government once again to introduce a standard of care higher than was previously set. Now it is time to ensure that standard becomes 3.5 hours.

The government plans to hold further consultations this April-May to gather information on what would be an appropriate level of care. It will publish a proposal on the Ministry of Health website and invite written comments and submissions.

CUPE will keep pushing for 3.5 hours of care per day for each resident in long-term care facilities. It is preparing MPP lobby kits and other materials as part of its ongoing campaign.

Meet with your MPP — It’s your future!
No front line care worker should have to put up with heavy workloads, low pay and job stress. No elderly or frail person should have to live in a facility without the care they deserve. Yet without a decent standard of care and appropriate levels of staffing set out in the new law, these conditions will continue.

You can make a real difference by meeting with your MPP prior to the upcoming consultations. CUPE Ontario is preparing materials to assist you with your MPP meeting.