August 5th, 2020

Seniors can’t wait: Horwath calls for long-term care changes now

ST. CATHARINES — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on the Ford government to take urgent, immediate action so seniors can have a safer, better quality of life in long-term care.

“Low staffing levels and a lack of standards and inspections mean seniors aren’t getting the time, care and attention they deserve,” said Horwath. “Too often, that’s leaving our loved ones — the parents and grandparents who built this province — to develop bedsores, to become malnourished or dehydrated, to suffer falls and to be more vulnerable to illness, including COVID-19, which took the lives of more than 1,840 people in long-term care.

“We can do better, and seniors and their families need Ford to act urgently. There are things he can do right now to improve long-term care.”

Horwath is calling on the province to immediately:

  • Hire thousands of long-term care workers, especially personal support workers (PSWs)
  • Change PSW jobs from part-time to full-time, and increase the pay
  • Mandate that enough frontline staff are scheduled so that all residents are guaranteed a minimum of four hours of hands on care per day
  • Immediately re-establish mandatory, comprehensive resident quality inspections for each facility, at least once every year
  • Create a funded PSW recruitment and retention strategy to train, hire and keep good staff in long-term care and home care

On Wednesday in St. Catharines, Horwath held a roundtable discussion with long-term care workers who described being run off their feet, understaffed and overworked — all facts the government’s own long-term care study confirmed just last week.

Although she and the NDP are calling for urgent changes, they’re also has pushing for a fully transparent public inquiry into long-term care and the conditions that led to the tragic COVID-19 outbreaks. That inquiry would include evaluation of the role of for-profit corporations’ role in long-term care, with a view to overhauling the system.

To date, Ford has refused. Instead he struck a non-binding government commission that will operate behind closed doors, keep documents secret, and may not ever hear from families whose loved ones died in nursing homes during the pandemic.


Lisa Frame, PSW, Radiant Care Pleasant Manor

“Frontline workers strive to give seniors in long-term care the same care they would give to their own loved ones, but chronic understaffing makes that next to impossible. With personal support workers spread thin, seniors in long-term care can wait days and days for help with basic hygiene like bathing and shaving. Seniors in long-term care suffer, and so do personal support workers who were burnt out to begin with and have been working overtime during the pandemic. Frontline workers enjoy giving care, and working as a PSW can be a very rewarding career, but they need to be properly supported. The Ontario government needs to assist with increasing staff levels and wages in long-term care and also provide support for recruitment of new staff and incentives to keep staff.”