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No long-term care standards

Ontario’s seniors in long-term care homes, their families and front-line staff were let down again by Ontario’s health minister who this week failed to introduce a regulated minimum standard of hands-on-care when he released yet another report on conditions and care levels in long-term care facilities. 

“Seniors’ in homes whose average age is 82 don’t have time to wait for the minister to make the right decision.
 Introducing a 3.5 hour hands-on care standard with the report was a golden opportunity to improve the care levels and quality of life for 75,000 nursing home residents, and he blew it,” said Candace Rennick, 2nd VP for CUPE Ontario and a long-term care worker.

Smitherman is ignoring years of appeals by family members, staff and residents who have called for a minimum standard of care to ensure accountability and quality care improvements in these facilities.

While Smitherman admitted that a minimum standard of care is doable today, and could be introduced through regulation, he is opting instead to take another approach and by doing that he is breaking a
commitment made by the Premier to set a care standard.

The report is focused on setting guidelines and plans to increase the staffing capacity of the sector over a period of four years.  While the report recognizes that more hands-on staff is needed, the incremental approach the minister is interested in is a total rejection of provincial standards and enforcements that assumes that nursing homes will work cooperatively on their own to achieve better care.

But CUPE Ontario believes government is responsible for the conditions in our nursing homes.  Along with our labour allies and community partners CUPE will continue to fight for a regulated minimum standard of care and we will keep up the pressure until we win 3.5 hours.