Ontario fails to set minimum staffing standards
Toronto (04 Oct. 2006) - The long wait for a Long Term Care Act was hardly worth it, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).
“This is hardly the ‘revolution’ the health minister promised us three years ago,” says Leah Casselman, president of the OPSEU. “Instead it’s mostly a formalization of policies that have already been put in place.”
OPSEU is upset that the new Act fails to set minimum staffing standards for long term care homes.
“The Ministry is trying to legislate standards without putting in place the necessary resources to meet those standards,” says Casselman.
Despite promising an additional $6,000 per resident per year, the government has only moved the funding benchmark by $2,000 per resident.
And much of the new long term care funding has gone towards creating new beds, not enhanced quality.
The union is urging the government to amend the act and introduce a minimum staffing standard of 3.5 hours of care per day per resident – a recommendation widely agreed upon by labour organizations, seniors’ advocacy groups, and the Ontario Health Coalition.
The union is also concerned the act does little to stem the shift to for-profit beds in the province.
More than half of Ontario’s publicly supported long term care beds are in for-profit homes – the highest in Canada. For-profit beds have been linked in numerous studies to lower levels of staffing and inferior health outcomes compared to not-for-profit and public beds.