April 14th, 2020

Government must fix long-term care staffing to stop the spread: Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the province can save lives with a directive to have long-term care workers each work in one home only, and pay them enough to be able to do that.

“We do need to do everything possible to protect seniors in long-term care. From the beginning of this pandemic, we should have restricted workers to one long-term care or group living facility each, and mandated higher wages and scheduling practices that would allow them to do that.

“If the premier is now also worried about the low wages paid to health care heroes in long-term care there’s a simple solution: give them a raise. Now.”

Long-term care staff are typically paid barely above minimum wage, and facilities often schedule each staffer for only part-time hours. Until the government requires that to change that, staff will continue to be forced to work at several facilities to cobble together enough wages to get by.

The Official Opposition NDP is calling for major changes and investments, including:

  • Immediately increase salaries for staff in order to retain and attract workers, including Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs)
  • Assign each staff member to one facility only, to eliminate the potential for staff to transmit COVID-19 to other facilities, ending all exceptions
  • Standardize visitor policies province-wide to prevent COVID-19 transmission from visitors and volunteers, seeking Public Health determination on the safest policy