Unions urging Province to put an end to for-profit long-term care facilities

 

Several unions from across Ontario are calling on the province to put an end to for-profit long-term care facilities.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Unifor are calling for reform to long-term care facilities that would eliminate for-profit homes so money from residents would go towards better care, not profits for corporate shareholders.

President of OPSEU, Warren Thomas, cited research from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), which found that long-term care residents have been nearly twice as likely to get sick and die in private facilities.

“We don’t need any more studies--it’s time for action,” Thomas said in a news release. “It’s time to take profit out of long-term care.”

The research from CMA also confirmed studies from other media outlets that found the vast majority of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths have occurred in for-profit long-term care homes.

According to the findings, the reason for this has been attributed to private homes’ lower staffing and pay levels as a likely factor in lower levels of care and increased deaths.

“For years, we’ve been trying to raise the alarm about the dangers of understaffing and low pay,” Joan Corradetti, a frontline long-term care worker and the chair of OPSEU’s Long-Term Care sector, said in the same release.

“We don’t do this work because we’re trying to get rich. We just want to provide the best quality of care to our residents, and that’s nearly impossible when private owners keep demanding that we do more with less so they can maximize their profits," she continued.

Further, according to a news release from CUPE, SEIU, and Unifor, for-profit long-term care facilities have 17 per cent fewer staff than non-profit facilities.

"Yet, while families and care staff were dying throughout the pandemic, three of the largest long-term care businesses combined paid shareholders more than $58 million in dividends in the past three months alone," stated the release.

Moreover, the three aforementioned unions have created an ad campaign entitled Care not Profits that encourages Ontarians to urge the Province to put an end to for-profit facilities and reinvest the funding that would go to these facilities to resident care.

“Following the tragic events in nursing homes across Ontario during the pandemic, the general public now knows what unions, long-term care workers and resident families have known for many years: for-profit care puts lives in danger," Jerry Dias, national president for Unifor, said in the release.

We can no longer turn a blind eye to the millions of dollars lining executives’ pockets and rewarding shareholders as residents and overworked staff are left without the dignity and respect they deserve. We must learn from this crisis and that starts with Doug Ford taking action to put people before profits," he continued.

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