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March 10, 2008

To:           All CUPE Long-Term Care Locals, OCHU Hospitals

From:        Sue Schmidt, Chair, Health Care Workers
                Coordinating Committee
                Jim Flynn, Associate Health Care Coordinator
                Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario;
                Michael Hurley, President OCHU

Dear Sisters and Brothers: 

URGENT:  Continue the call for 3.5 hours 
–  Minimum Care Standards Now!

On Valentine’s Day hundreds of CUPE long-term care members took their Time to Care message to MPP constituency offices across the province calling on them to push the health minister to introduce a 3.5 hour standard of care in nursing homes.  Ontario MPPs got the message loud and clear that CUPE members are committed to improving the standards of care for vulnerable people living in long-term facilities.

On the heels of this action, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan, OFL President Wayne Samuelson and two front line CUPE caregivers held a press conference at Queen’s Park to provide a first-hand account of the difficulties trying to provide adequate care to frail seniors under current care standards.  Health minister George Smitherman reduced the serious problem of inadequate hands-on care and staffing levels to the quality of the incontinence product.  Smitherman’s decision to personally test the quality of the diapers used by nursing homes , met with widespread criticism.

Both actions garnered a tremendous amount of media attention and support for our Time to Care campaign. 

Sisters and brothers it is vitally important we keep up the pressure.  We urge you to once again send a message to your local MPP that we will not stop until the Government introduces staffing standards and a 3.5 hour standard of care.  We ask that you also send a message to Health Minister George Smitherman and Premier Dalton McGuinty. 

With that message in mind CUPE Ontario will be holding a series of media conferences around the province over the next few weeks.  The full slate will be posted on CUPE Ontario’s web site within the next few days.

We have the capacity to move this government in the direction needed with respect to staffing standards.  Your efforts are critical in this regard.  Send a message now.  To assist you in this endeavour we are resending the “Meeting Your MPP – Talking Points” along with a list of MPPs from across the province.  Included here are the health minister’s and the premier’s email address, fax and phone number.

Please let us know of any actions by your local by emailing [email protected].

Keep up the great work.

No more wait!  3.5 hours of care and staffing standards now!