April 30th, 2021

Horwath demands Ford government act on Long-Term Care Commission report

QUEEN'S PARK – Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on the Ford government to release the full Long-Term Care Commission report, and act on its findings urgently.

“For too long, our parents and grandparents have been stripped of their quality of life, their health, their dignity and even their safety and well-being in nursing homes,” said Horwath. “Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have let private long-term care corporations cut corners, keep staffing levels low, and pad their pockets with more profits as a result — all while hardworking PSWs and other staff were exploited, underpaid and overworked.”

Horwath said long-term care homes were a disaster waiting to happen — but instead of protecting them as COVID-19 approached, Doug Ford neglected them.

“When COVID-19 threatened long-term care homes, the Doug Ford government chose not to prepare, and chose not to act again and again. Nearly 4,000 people died, alone and in pain. Thousands more suffered while their families waited at home in anguish,” said Horwath.

“What more must seniors and their families go through before a government in this province will finally act? Government after government has ignored studies, commissions and experts — from Mike Harris to the Kathleen Wynne and Steven Del Duca Liberals, and now the Ford government. It must stop now. This report must be the last before we finally make lasting, permanent change.”

Andrea Horwath and the NDP have already released a plan for a complete overhaul of home care and long-term care in a new model built on small, family-like homes rather than institution-like facilities. It’s a detailed blueprint for a transition to a well-regulated and well-staffed public and not-for-profit system with 50,000 new beds added.


The NDP plan includes:

Overhauling home care to help people live at home longer
Ending the for-profit, understaffed patchwork of home care companies that make seniors wait and fail to address the inequities. This includes bringing the system into the public and non-profit sectors over eight years, as well as new provincial standards for home care services, and culturally-appropriate resources, training and job-matching

Making all long-term care public and not-for-profit
Ending greedy profit-making at the expense of quality of care. Horwath is committing to phase out for-profit operators within eight years, and increasing financial reporting, transparency and accountability during the transition period.

Building small, modern, family-like homes
The gloom of being warehoused in institution-like facilities is over. An NDP government will immediately start building small nursing homes that actually feel like home. Based on best practices from around the world, the NDP will build smaller living spaces shared by groups of six to 10 people. In a small town, it could look like a typical family home. In bigger cities, it could look more like a neighbourhood of villas.

Staffing up with full-time, well-paid, well-trained caregivers
Instead of the revolving door of staff run off their feet, the NDP will give personal support workers a permanent wage boost of $5 an hour over their pre-pandemic wages. The NDP will mandate enough staff to guarantee at least 4.1 hours of hands-on care per resident per day, establish a dedicated fund for training personal support workers, and more.

Making family caregivers partners
The NDP will treat loved ones like more than just visitors, including creating a provincial Caregiver Benefit Program and ensuring every home has an active family and resident council.

Creating culturally responsive, inclusive and affirming care
The NDP will make sure seniors feel at home, surrounded by their language and culture, and make sure 2SLGBTQIA+ seniors can always live with Pride. This includes partnering with communities, Indigenous nations and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities to fund community homes, and more.

Clearing the wait list
Clearing the 38,000-person wait list that can mean years waiting for a bed, and even longer for a culturally appropriate home. The NDP will create up to 50,000 spaces and eliminate the wait list within eight years.

Guaranteeing new and stronger protections
Comprehensive inspections, a Seniors’ Advocate, and more will ensure care never goes downhill again.