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Families, long-term care staff at Queen’s Park rally today

TORONTO, ON – Following this month’s tragic homicide of a senior in a Toronto long-term care home, and “a decade-long string of unmet promises by successive Ontario health ministers to do better and make improvements to long-term care (LTC), the time to act to increase care hours and keep residents safer is now,” says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

For more than 10 years, CUPE/OCHU have called on the provincial government to increase personal care and staffing supports, for the nearly 80,000 long-term care residents.

Recent Statistics Canada data indicates that Ontario homes for the aged fall well short of staffing for homes for the aged in other provinces. On average, facilities for the elderly in Ontario provide almost one hour less care for each resident everyday compared with the Canada-wide level.  That means there is 22.5 per cent more care Canada-wide than in Ontario where funding is $28.30 less per resident per day than the national average.

Hurley will be among several invited guest speakers at a Queen’s Park rally today organized by the Parent family whose 85-year-old mother – a resident in a Peterborough nursing home – was attacked by another resident this February and is now in a wheelchair. The Parents’ believe that understaffing at the facility was a contributing factor in the attack on their mother.

“Long-term care workers are doing all they can to provide quality care, to treat residents with dignity and keep them safe. But chronic under-staffing and a lack of a provincial staffing standard, is leaving people vulnerable. Many incidents of resident-on-resident violence are preventable,” says Hurley.

A recent W5 investigation found that resident-on-resident violence in nursing homes is prevalent and on the rise across Ontario and the rest of Canada.  It’s estimated that up to 75 per cent of residents have behavioral problems or are cognitively impaired.

In 2005 a coroner’s jury into the 2001 death of two residents at Casa Verde (a Toronto nursing home) who were killed by another resident made 85 recommendations – several of them focused on sweeping changes to improve resident safety including increasing staffing and care levels and locked units for residents with dementia.  Few of the recommendations have been acted on. 

“While we have no doubt, Ontario’s health minister takes her responsibility as the minister responsible for care in long-term care homes extremely seriously the lack of action to make homes safer is extremely worrisome,” says Hurley.


For more information please contact:

Michael Hurley,   President Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE),  416-884-0770

Stella Yeadon,  CUPE Communications,  416-559-9300