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Bill 7: Ontario plans to bypass public hearings to pass controversial LTC bill

Posted: August 26, 2022

(August 25, 2022)

By: Alex Last, CHCH

There is mounting pressure from the opposition tonight as the Ford government plans to bypass public hearings in order to quickly pass controversial long-term care legislation.

Bill 7 would allow hospital patients to be moved to a temporary long-term care home without their consent and if they refuse, a fee could be charged and some estimate it could be thousands of dollars a day.

“Hospital beds weren’t made for long-term care patients and what’s happening is that it’s clogging up the emergency departments, delaying surgeries, these problems are decades in the making,” Premier Ford said.

Opposition parties are calling for clarity, “cruelty is not a solution. These seniors, these people with disabilities… they’ve done nothing wrong. What’s wrong is the broken long-term care and home care systems. Systems that have been cut and privatized to the bone,” NDP MPP Peter Tabuns said.

Under Bill 7, patients can’t be physically forced out of the hospital, but if someone refuses a transfer it’s unclear what may happen.

Long-term care minister Paul Calandra has stated that they should absolutely be charged a fee. If they are subject to the hospital’s uninsured rates it could mean patients are out of pocket thousands of dollars a day.

“When someone can not afford to pay to stay in the hospital, how far away is the government willing to move them?,” Tabuns said.

“The status quo is simply not an option any longer,” long-term care minister Paul Calandra did not directly answer the question, but the liberals say for some, it could be far away from family.

“We are now learning that in the north, patients could be sent to a long-term care home 300 kilimetres away. Further south that limit could be 100 kilometres away and in city’s 30 kilometres,” MPP Dr. Adil Shamji said. The liberals say a source at Queen’s Park provided that information.

The Ford government insisted that the hospital sector has called for this move that would free up 2,500 more beds.

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA), representing doctors in the province, is also supporting the bill.

The OMA is calling on the government to ensure transfers are conducted in a dignified way for certain populations, especially those with language barriers.

In a statement late this afternoon, the Ontario Health Coalition says the pandemic exposed horrific conditions of care in some long-term care homes adding that many seniors are frightened.

When it comes to just how far a patient may be transfered, the premier’s office tells CHCH News today that no set distance has been decided on just yet.

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