Canada’s long-term care crisis: Feds should take cue from NDP proposal in Ontario

Creating a public, non-profit long-term care system in Ontario – as proposed by the Ontario NDP last week – is the only way forward to protect seniors and prevent further tragedies in the province’s nursing homes during the pandemic. 

The Ontario NDP put forward an eight-year plan that would overhaul the province’s long-term care system; transitioning all facilities to a public model, adding thousands of new spaces and eliminating wait times for seniors at nursing homes. 

“This proposal, in one province, sets the standard for a national plan to make long-term care public,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President. “The care and well-being of our seniors should never have been left in the hands of private, for-profit companies.”  

PSAC, alongside the Ottawa Health Coalition and the Canadian Health Coalition, has been lobbying all levels of government to shift for-profit long-term care facilities into publicly owned and operated ones for the health and well-being of residents across the country. 

“We’ve already witnessed too many tragedies in the halls of for-profit nursing homes across Canada,” said Aylward. “It’s not too late to save more lives; it’s time for the federal government to act now.” 

PSAC launches national campaign

PSAC launched a national campaign a few weeks ago to turn over to public hands the long-term care facilities owned by Revera Inc. Revera is wholly owned by the Public Sector Pension plan, which funds the pensions of PSAC’s federal public service workers, the RCMP and the Canadian military. Revera is the second largest long-term care corporation in the country. Recent studies show that residents in private long-term care facilities are four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those living in municipal, publicly owned and operated homes.   

The campaign has received support from thousands of our members and the public to make long-term care a part of our public healthcare system, as it should always have been. Our members have written to cabinet ministers and local MPs demanding that the Public Sector Pension Investment Board act immediately to make Revera long-term care facilities publicly owned and operated.  

“We’re in full support of today’s announcement from the Ontario NDP,” said PSAC Ontario Regional Executive Vice-President, Craig Reynolds. “It’s time for Premier Ford and the governing Conservatives to do what’s right and adopt this plan that will save thousands of lives and stop greedy corporations from profiting off the care of our seniors.”  

To date in Ontario, 1,952 residents have died in long-term care due to COVID-19, making up 65 per cent of the deaths to the virus in the province.   

“All provincial governments should invest in high quality, universally accessible, publicly owned and publicly operated long-term care, where seniors live with dignity and where workers have decent work, with decent pay,” said Aylward. 


October 13, 2020