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Letters: Provincial homecare plans; federal support for seniors

Posted: June 24, 2020

(June 23, 2020)

By: Sudbury Star Staff, Sudbury Star

Homecare disaster is looming on the horizon

While we are distracted by the horrors happening in long-term care, the Ford government is ramming a bill through the legislature that will lead to the privatization of homecare.

In the 1990s the Conservative government turned long-term care over to private, for-profit businesses. The outcome of that is seen today in the disaster taking place in long-term care homes.

With the attention of advocates, front-line workers and families focused on the appalling mess in nursing homes, the Ford government is moving quickly to push Bill 175 through without adequate consultation with the public.

The Ontario Health Coalition calls this bill undemocratic and permissive. This bill will take homecare out of legislation and place it under regulations that can be changed according to the whims of the government in power.

Bill 175 will dismantle Local Health Integration Networks and replace them with an array of for-profit, non-profit and unnamed organizations that will coordinate health-care monies and services. There will be no board of directors policing them and no board to listen to public complaints.

The march is on to privatize the homecare sector. Private businesses have one target only — that is, to maximize profits. To do this, they will pay workers the lowest wages they can and use untrained, unskilled workers to service clients who previously received care from qualified personal support workers.

For the past couple of years, we have been facing a severe shortage of PSWs and their numbers will continue to decline if they continue to be underpaid and overworked. Many have left this career for good.

Who will you complain to when you discover that the worker you thought was a qualified PSW has only two weeks of training? There will be no LHIN case manager to call for help like I had when I was caring for my palliative husband.

Senior caregivers just don’t have the time or the energy to fight a private business to get the care they are are entitled to. Another health-care disaster is looming on the horizon. It is permissive, disorganized homecare. Roma Smith Hanmer

More pandemic help for seniors this summer

Seniors in Canada have experienced some of the most negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many, staying safe at home has meant added expenses. Deliveries come at a premium and some groceries are costing more. Prescription dispensing fees have increased in many provinces.

The federal government responded early. In April, more than four million low- and middle-income seniors received a supplementary GST credit automatically in their bank accounts.

But as the pandemic wore on, seniors were clear that while welcome, it wasn’t enough.

That’s why we’re providing more help this summer. A special one-time, tax-free payment for seniors will be made on the week of July 6.

This payment will provide $2.5 billion for 6.7 million seniors eligible for the Old Age Security, with extra support for the most vulnerable.

For a low-income couple on GIS, the April and July payments add up to over $1,500 in support to help with increased costs caused by COVID-19.

To help prevent fraud and make it easy to receive, the payment is automatic. Seniors do not need to apply and they should not share any personal or banking information to receive it.

This financial support complements other federal supports for seniors during the pandemic, such as support for charities and community groups to provide essential services, like the delivery of groceries, and community projects help to reduce social isolation.

We continue to look at all the ideas that are coming in on how we could better help seniors.

During these unprecedented times, we will always to be there for Canadian seniors. Deb Schulte Canada’s Minister for Seniors

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