Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

June 30, 2009 10:00 ET

CUPE-Liberal MPPs Get Cookies, Long-Term Care Residents Get Crumbs

More money going into long-term care isn't translating into more care

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 30, 2009) - Liberal MPPs across Ontario received baked goods topped with icing demanding minimum care standards for long-term care residents, just as new data reveals more funding for nursing homes is not translating into more care.

"MPPs are getting cookies and other treats today, but residents are getting crumbs from this government," says Candace Rennick, long-term care worker and Second Vice-President of CUPE Ontario. "The data released today reinforces the need for staffing regulations of an average of 3.5 hours of care per resident per day. The Liberal government has promised these standards and it must deliver."

The treats, iced with a "3.5" message on top, were delivered today as CUPE released data obtained through a Freedom of Information request that reveals average staffing levels actually fell from July to December 2007 even though funding increased. Funding during this time was 2.25 per cent higher than over the previous six months, but hours of care delivered were 1.13 per cent lower.

Even more startling, between March 2006 and December 2007, hours of care fell by 0.58 per cent though funding increased by 8.07 per cent. The "per diems" flowing into the sector - the amount of money transferred to a long-term care facility per resident per day - have been rising steadily since 2004, increasing from $62.95 to $77.32 by 2008.

Tellingly, the data shows that the lowest levels of care are in for-profit facilities. The for-profit sector continually fights against the creation of enforceable minimum standards, Rennick says.

"Where has the money gone?" asks Rennick. "Without enforceable minimum standards of care, public funding is just padding private profits. Let's hope our sweet message today gets through."

This month, the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care once again increased funding with no strings attached even though it knows this money is not producing increased hours of care. The new rate is $79.60 a month retroactive to April 1, 2009. This represents an increase of 6.03 per cent from the April 2008 rate of $75.07. There is no assurance that tax dollars will be used appropriately without enforceable regulations stipulating increased hours of resident care.

Despite many promises, the McGuinty government has refused to bring in minimum standards of care for long-term care residents. CUPE and other front-line unions - and several research studies - have identified 3.5 hours of care as a necessary first step in achieving appropriate levels of care for our seniors.

The action today marks Seniors' Month (June) and was held on what CUPE marks as "Resident Appreciation Day" (June 30).

Contact Information

  • CUPE Ontario
    Candace Rennick
    Second Vice-President
    Cell 705 768 2288
    CUPE Communications
    David Robbins
    Cell 613 878 1431