August 2nd, 2019

NDP fighting Ford’s cuts to seniors care

Villa Colombo Toronto facing staff layoffs and higher fees

TORONTO — Doug Ford’s cuts to long-term care are taking away millions of dollars from homes across the province, and in Toronto, that will mean residents of Villa Colombo Toronto will see staff layoffs and higher fees.

Official Opposition NDP critic for Long-Term Care, Teresa Armstrong, held a press conference at Villa Colombo Toronto on Friday, joined by families of residents who called on the Ford government to stop the cuts. Armstrong addressed government memos, proposing the elimination of two long-term care funding streams, and called for a find-and-fix inquiry into long-term care.

"Families in Ontario are already concerned about the level of care their loved ones are receiving after years of Liberal underfunding of long-term care,” said Armstrong. “Doug Ford’s planned cuts will just make matters worse.”

At Villa Colombo Toronto, Ford’s cuts mean a loss of $122,361 in 2019 and $489,444 in 2020. Jobs will be lost, and residents will get even less hands-on care and support.

The cuts scheduled for Oct. 1 include the elimination of funding to help with staff wages and money for older homes to do necessary maintenance and repairs.

“Villa Colombo needs more staff, not less, to meet the needs of my mother and other residents,” said Julie Perl, Chair of the Family Council at the home. “If these cuts go ahead, the loss of support our parents get every day will be devastating for them, for all of us who love them, and for the health care workers who are trying their best.”

"It's hard enough for the current staff to give residents the care they need," said Nick and Anna Lo Iacono, who have a loved one at Villa Colombo. "But it will be impossible once staff are let go because of this government's funding cuts."

At the same time, Ford is raising the co-payment fees that long-term care residents pay by 2.3 per cent, which is one of the highest price hikes in the last decade. A middle class senior in care will pay about $500 more a year, as a result.

“Residents here at Villa Colombo and across Ontario deserve better than this. They raised our families, they built our province, and they cared for us,” said Armstrong. “New Democrats will fight these cuts — we don’t want seniors care dragged backwards, we want even better care for our loved ones.”

The NDP has called for a find-and-fix inquiry, which would look into the safety of residents and staff, funding, staffing levels, regulation, inspections, and more. For more than a year, the NDP has called for that inquiry to be a second phase of the Wettlaufer inquiry, which reported its recommendations Wednesday. Although the Wettlaufer inquiry's mandate was specific to the conditions that failed to prevent a killer from attacking residents, Justice Eileen Gillese reported findings of understaffing and underfunding, and called out systemic problems in long-term care that leave residents vulnerable.