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May 27th, 2021

NDP: We must protect our loved ones in long-term care

As many loved ones have been lost due to poor conditions in for-profit long-term care homes, the Liberals and Conservatives refuse to do what’s right and remove profits from the care of our loved ones

EDMONTON — The pandemic has shown Canadians the cost of government inaction and neglect. We’ve seen devastating losses of loved ones in long-term care across the country and here in Alberta. Our parents and grandparents deserve to live in comfort and safety. Yet because of decades of Liberal and Conservative cuts, underfunding and privatization, COVID-19 claimed the lives of thousands of Canadians in long-term care– the highest proportion in the OECD. To make matters worse, despite evidence that profit is a barrier to good care, both the Liberals and Conservatives refused to remove profits out of long-term care to save lives.

“Long-term care in Canada has long been underfunded and understaffed, with workers working and residents living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. The federal government has allowed this to happen,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “Families need to know that their loved ones are safe in long-term care facilities and that they’re getting the very best care possible. That is why New Democrat called for the removal of profits from long-term care—but Justin Trudeau’s Liberal and Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives chose to protect profits over our loved ones. We will keep fighting to make sure seniors get the best care possible.”

A report by Parkland Institute revealed that the lack of adequate staffing in long-term care became a matter of life and death. In Alberta alone, 64 percent of COVID-19 fatalities – more than 1,200 – were seniors in long-term care. The NDP has called on the Liberals to remove profits out of long-term care—starting with Revera long-term care centres which is run by a federal agency. But both the Liberals and Conservatives chose to side with profits instead of Canadian families worried about their loved ones in long-term care.

“COVID-19 has laid bare the devastating conditions of our seniors living in long-term care facilities,” said NDP MP Heather McPherson (Edmonton Strathcona). “Long-term care workers and the families of residents in long-term care want to see action to make sure their loved ones are properly cared for. Our seniors deserve to live in dignity. The government can fix this. But they choose not to. This is wrong. New Democrats will continue to fight to make sure our loved ones are treated with the care they deserve.”

Quotes by validators:

"What we know is that pressures on staffing are at the root of the inadequate LTC system, and these pressures increased exponentially under pandemic conditions. Our research, a survey of LTC workers in Alberta conducted just prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, unequivocally affirms that LTC staff have too few hands and rarely enough time to provide the care our seniors need and deserve."

Dr. Rebecca Graff-McRae

“When homes are understaffed, that hurts both workers and residents. Workers want to be able to provide the highest possible quality of care, but we just don’t have the resources to do so. We end up burnt out, and residents end up with care that doesn’t meet the standards we aim for.” “Workers are tired of being called heroes while governments ignore our cries to improve standards in continuing care in Alberta. We want more than words, we want action.”

June St. Lewis, worker in long-term care