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Unions, advocates for seniors call for inquiry into discrimination against elderly in health care

Posted: March 19, 2021

(March 18, 2021)

By: Saira Peesker, CBC News

Ross Ha waves goodbye to his 88-year-old mother on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 after the Rose of Sharon Korean Long Term Care home introduced new visitation processes. (Sam Nar/CBC) (Sam Nar/CBC)

A coalition of health-care advocates and union groups is calling on the Ontario Human Rights Commission to conduct an inquiry into “systemic discrimination based on age against the elderly in the provision of hospital and long-term care,” citing already-dire conditions that have been made significantly worse by the pandemic.

The Ontario Health Coalition, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions — part of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) — and the Advocacy Centre for Elderly said Thursday that packed hospitals are discharging elderly patients who still need care, and that seniors in long-term care homes have struggled to get hospital treatment even after contracting COVID-19.

Even before the pandemic, lawyer Jane Meadus says her organization — the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, a legal clinic — would get calls about long-term care residents who hadn’t been bathed for weeks, or been left to sit in soiled diapers. Now, she hears regularly about people who have been left to die from COVID-19, instead of being transferred to hospital where they would get better care.