Laura Mae Lindo MPP, Kitchener Centre

Government of Ontario

NDP fights Ford’s long-term care cuts

Published on August 23, 2019

HAMILTON – Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath gave a press conference Friday to address Doug Ford cutting millions of dollars from long-term care funding province-wide. In Hamilton, Ford’s cuts will leave the city with $140,000 less to fund its long-term care homes this year, and a shortfall of $550,000 the next. Residents will also see higher fees.

“Anyone with a loved one in long-term care knows underfunding has real consequences. It means your parent or grandparent could ring a call bell for help going to the washroom, but be left to wait until it’s too late,” said Horwath, speaking in front of long-term care facility Macassa Lodge. Horwath was joined by the MPP for the riding, Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain), and MPPs Paul Miller (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek) and Sandy Shaw (Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas). A personal support worker and the daughter of a long-term care resident each spoke to their experiences of the sector.

Shannon Estey, a personal support worker for over a decade who has worked at both Macassa and Wentworth Lodge, said nursing and personal support staff in the sector are under enormous strain. “We are overwhelmed by our workload, broken and in pain because we are unable to meet the needs of our residents, or give them the time and dignity they deserve. We need more staff to give more hands-on care to residents. If Premier Doug Ford cuts another $550,000 in provincial funding from our long-term care homes, how can we possibly survive?”

Ford’s cuts, which are scheduled for Oct. 1, include the elimination of funding for older homes that help keep them up to modern safety standards. At the same time, Ford is raising the co-payment fees that long-term care residents pay by 2.3 per cent -- one of the highest price hikes in the last decade. A middle class senior in care will pay about $500 more a year, as a result.

“My family sees my father struggle with not being able to go to the toilet when needed, not being able to lie down when tired, waiting anywhere from five minutes to an hour for someone to come and help,” said Lisa Burton, whose father is a long-term care resident at Wentworth Lodge. “All of the problems would be addressed with more frontline staff, more personal support workers on the floor to meet the increasing needs of residents.”

“Residents here in Hamilton, and across Ontario, deserve better than this,” Horwath said. “They raised our families, they built our province, and they cared for us. New Democrats will fight these cuts. We don’t want seniors’ care dragged backwards, we want more compassionate and dedicated care for our loved ones.”

The Wettlaufer inquiry highlighted the serious problem of understaffing in Ontario’s long-term care homes. The NDP has been fighting for more investment in daily care for seniors in long-term care homes.