November 9th, 2018

NDP tables legislation to help veterans access long-term care

St. Catharines MPP and NDP Veterans, Legions and Military Affairs critic Jennie Stevens has tabled legislation that will give Ontario’s veterans priority access to long-term care beds right across the province, closing loopholes that are forcing those who served to languish on waiting lists.

Veterans’ Priority Access Beds are designated long-term care spaces that veterans have priority access to over non-veteran applicants. But only some veterans qualify, and those who do have to relocate to designated beds in Toronto, London or Ottawa, often separating them from their families and support networks.

“Current legislation narrowly defines veterans as those who served in the First World War, Second World War, and the Korean War,” said Stevens. “This loophole forces modern day veterans to sit on waitlists, rather than be given the care they need, as soon as they need it.

“We have a duty to care for those who have served. We can do better to give veterans the care and the home they deserve, when and where they need it.”

There are nearly 33,000 people stuck on wait lists for long-term care, and the largest group waiting is modern-day veterans.

“By amending the Long Term Care Homes Act, all veterans will be given priority access to beds right across this province. That means we’ll stop taking veterans away from their spouse, children and grandchildren, and we’ll stop allowing modern day veterans to fall through the cracks. We owe it to our veterans to give them the care they rightfully deserve.”

Stevens’ bill will be debated Thursday, and with veterans waiting, she said she’ll be pushing for support from the Conservatives to change the policies hurting veterans.