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Peel Health Coalition takes part in provincewide protests over long-term care conditions

Posted: October 10, 2020

(October 9, 2020)

By: Marta Marychuk, Caledon Enterprise

The Peel Health Coalition was one of 24 chapters of the Ontario Health Coalition that took part in a day of action on Thursday, Oct. 8, to protest conditions in long-term care homes.

Rosemary Keenan, a member of Peel Health Coalition that gathered outside the office of Brampton-West MPP Amarjot Sandhu, said the event went well despite sparse numbers.

Although Sandhu was not at his office, Keenan said approximately 10 people took part in the Peel protest, including two speakers who had parents at Holland Christian Homes and The Village of Erin Meadows facilities.

The purpose of the day of action was to call on the Ford government to immediately address the lack of full-time work in long-term care and poor conditions for both residents and staff, said Keenan.

The funding and staffing announcements made by the Ford government recently increases the money but is far less than what is needed, said Keenan.

She said the government needs a clear plan to recruit and train staff, improve pay and working conditions and provide full-time work. She said, currently, there are not enough staff in some homes to provide each resident a minimum of four hours of care, per day.

“Some residents require more,” Keenan said.

The coalition has been tracking outbreaks since early March and has now counted 51 currently active outbreaks in long-term care homes and 40 outbreaks in retirement homes across Ontario.

“We had a lull in the summer, and we were waiting for the Ford government to take concrete action to shore up the staffing and care levels and prepare for the second wave. That did not happen,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, in a statement.

“The announcements of funding and staffing in the last two weeks were late, piecemeal, and inadequate. We cannot believe that now, in October, eight months after the outbreaks began, there is still no coherent plan for long-term care in Ontario,” said Mehra.

On Sept. 28, the province announced it was investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support more than 3,700 more front-line health-care workers and caregivers to meet any surge in demand for long-term care homes.

“It’s the thousands of nurses, personal support workers, and other front-line workers who have made the difference in the fight against COVID-19,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement at the time of the announcement.

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