BACKGROUNDER: CALL TO ACTION: Take these actions to win improved long-term care in Ontario asap: Pass Bill 33!
Posted: February 9, 2018
It’s Time to Care: Your Support Can Help Us Win Improved Care Standards in Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes Now
Not Enough Care
As you know, the key issue for residents, families, care workers and advocates in long-term care is that there simply is not enough care. For more than a decade, we have been advocating to win improved care standards – that means daily, hands-on care by Personal Support Workers/Health Care Aides, Registered Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses – in order to improve health outcomes and keep residents and staff alike safe from harm.
Today, care levels are much lower than the minimum average of 4 hours of care per resident per day that we have been calling for. Residents and families have to pay to hire in extra care if they can afford it. Sadly many suffer without. Every day across Ontario the majority of long-term care homes are working short-staffed without enough care to meet increasingly complex and heavy care needs of their vulnerable residents.
Legislation is in Process to Bring in a Minimum of 4-Hours of Hands-On Care Per Day
Bill 33 is a Private Member’s Bill inspired by CUPE Ontario and brought forward by NDP, MPP France Géinas. A bill must pass three readings in the Ontario Legislature before it becomes law. The current government couldn’t be seen to vote against this urgent bill (especially before the upcoming June election) so, in a surprise turnaround the Liberals and Conservatives both voted in support of Bill 33 and a minimum standard of care for long-term care residents in the fall.
Now the hard part begins. Having passed two readings in the Legislature, Bill 33 has been sent off to the Standing Committee on General Government pending Third Reading. Usually Standing Committees of the Legislature hold public hearings across the province to get input from the public after Second Reading. Then the bill is amended by the Committee based on the input they receive and it goes back to the Legislature for Third and Final reading and a vote before it becomes law.
But Government MPPs are Stalling It
The Standing Committee on General Government has a majority Liberal MPPs on it, as all Committees do when there is a majority Liberal government. The Minister of Health responded to the push to get this legislation through, by making a vague promise to bring in a minimum care standard. If he was serious, the legislation would be fast-tracked through and passed as soon as possible. But no public hearings have been scheduled or held on Bill 33. The Standing Committee is sitting on it. Bill 33 can still be killed if it does not move to Third Reading in the Legislature before the next election, less than four months from now.
Remember that several years ago, the McGuinty government amended the Long-Term Care Act for us in response to our campaigning and McGuinty promised to bring in a minimum care standard within three months if he won the election. He won. The care standard never happened.
We could never have imagined that Bill 33 could get so far. But now we are just a breath away from a minimum care standard becoming the law of our province. We have to keep up the pressure – now more than ever.
You can help make a difference. Here’s what you can do:
- TIME TO CARE RALLY February 27th at noon at Queen’s Park. Join the Ontario Health Coalition, CUPE Ontario and the Ontario Federation of Labour calling for a guaranteed daily 4 hour care standard in long-term care. (Poster attached)
- Write to the Standing Committee on General Government and demand that they hold public hearings across Ontario and pass Bill 33 before the election. Here is the list of Standing Committee Members http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/committee_membership.do?locale=en
- Send a message to your MPP. Go to www.cupe.on.ca and add your name to the list of Ontarians who are demanding a standard of care for our vulnerable seniors. Go to: https://cupe.on.ca/support-time- to-care- act-2/
We are so close to getting a four hour daily care standard – we need to pour on the pressure now to make this long overdue standard of care happen.
RALLY for Time to Care
Queen’s Park (Ontario Legislature, Toronto)
February 27 @ noon
Ontario’s long-term care system is in crisis and is less funded than any other province in Canada.
Bill 33, the Time to Care Act, calls for a minimum standard of 4 hours of daily, hands-on care for seniors in long-term care. We got our MPPs to pass it at Second Reading, now we need to get it over the finish line.
On February 27, let’s rise up for seniors in long-term care who have waited far too long. Come to Queen’s Park at 12 pm to send the Premier and all our MPPs a clear message:
Make Time to Care the law in Ontario.
Peterborough, Niagara/Welland, Ottawa, North Bay, Kingston, Hamilton, Peel, & more!)
Sponsored by CUPE Ontario, Ontario Federation of Labour and the Ontario Health Coalition