Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)

August 04, 2017 14:43 ET

Renfrew and area long-term care staff hold rally Tuesday, August 8: "Too many tragic stories for province not to take urgent action on care levels"

RENFREW, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 4, 2017) - Too many tragic stories about care quality and resident safety in long-term care homes, "should prompt the provincial government to urgent action to make a daily 4-hour resident care standard the law in Ontario," say Renfrew and area direct care staff taking the issue to downtown Renfrew this coming Tuesday. They will be holding a rally and community information session on August 8, 2017 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - on Raglan Street south of the Renfrew Public Library.

Ontario long-term care patients are older and sicker than they were a decade ago. The majority have some form of cognitive impairment. Yet "staffing and funding are lower in our province than the rest of Canada, research shows," says Candace Rennick, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario secretary-treasurer and a former long-term care staff. "These are important issues that all in our communities should know about. Talking with people in towns like Renfrew will help make the changes residents need, happen."

Ontario's annual funding per long-term care bed totals $43,970.77 compared with $52,185.09 in the rest of Canada, excluding Ontario. The rest of Canada has the equivalent of 3.67 hours a day of nursing and personal care for each resident while Ontario has just 3.15 hours based on government hours paid, not the actual hours worked.

"A very sad aspect of insufficient care levels are conditions that increase incontinence because there are not enough staff to answer call bells when residents need to be helped to the toilet. Care staff are very demoralized. They want the province to act now to increase care hours," Rennick says.

Across Ontario, nurses, personal support workers and other long-term care staff, along with resident family council advocates, have appealed to the Ontario Liberal government to increase resident care levels. They say not enough staff means daily direct care is hectic, rushed and lacks compassion. But that's not all. Care is compromised in many ways, from resident cleanliness and infection control, to feeding, the research indicates.

"There is much concern that a public inquiry initiated by the government to examine the horrific actions of one nurse, will delay care reforms that are needed now to improve care quality and to better protect residents," says Louis Rodrigues, eastern Ontario vice-president for CUPE's Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).

The province intends to hold a public inquiry expected to last several years, into the circumstances of the murders of eight elderly residents of long-term care homes in Woodstock and London.

A private members Bill (Bill 33 - The Time to Care Act) that if passed would set higher daily resident care levels (a minimum of 4-hours) is now in second reading in the Ontario Legislature.

Contact Information

  • Candace Rennick
    Secretary-Treasurer CUPE Ontario

    Louis Rodrigues
    Eastern Ontario Vice-President, OCHU/CUPE

    Stella Yeadon
    CUPE Communications