Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

November 02, 2017 16:59 ET

Major victory for Ontario's Seniors: All party support for Bill 33 makes minimum care standards for seniors in long-term care closer to reality

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 2, 2017) - Bill 33, the Time to Care Act, passed second reading thanks to all party support for NDP Health Critic France Gélinas' private members bill that would legislate a minimum care standard of four hours a day in Ontario's long-term care homes.

"The care and wellbeing of our seniors should never be a partisan issue and we are so pleased that members of all three parties came together to pass this critical legislation at second reading," said Candace Rennick, Secretary Treasurer of CUPE Ontario and a former long-term care worker who has been working with Gélinas to bring the Time to Care Act forward.

Currently, the only legal guarantees for seniors living in long-term care are an on-call nurse 24 hours-a-day, and two baths a week. Canada has the lowest care levels among countries with equivalent economies, and Ontario has the lowest in Canada.

"The Time to Care Act was written with one thing in mind, protecting the health and dignity of our seniors living in Ontario's long-term care homes. I hope the other parties will continue to support my bill through committee and at final reading," said NDP Health Critic France Gélinas, after the vote. "If we are going to protect our most vulnerable citizens, a minimum standard of daily care is a must."

"Right now, we have five to ten minutes to help a resident with their morning routine. That includes waking, washing, dressing and use of the commode. Imagine if you only had ten minutes for all those activities in the morning. Then imagine you are 82 years old with mobility issues," said Andrea Legault, a personal support worker at Queen's Park for the vote. "We need mandatory care levels. We just run from person to person. We don't have enough time for the level of care our residents need. It's heart breaking."

There are more than 78,000 people living in Ontario long-term care homes. The majority of residents in Ontario long-term care homes are over 85, almost three quarters have some form of Alzheimer's or dementia, and the vast majority have mobility issues.

Canada has the lowest care levels among countries with equivalent economies, and Ontario has the lowest in Canada. Bill 33 would legislate a minimum care standard of four hours a day.

"It's not acceptable that our loved ones, the people who spent their lives building our province and caring for our communities, are now being neglected in their final years. We have been working hard to get the government to take action on this," said Rennick. "Today's vote was a great start. We hope they will act swiftly to bring it to final reading and pass it into law."

CUPE is Ontario's community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.

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