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e-2624 (Health)

E-petition
Initiated by Penny MacCourt from Nanaimo, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • COVID-19 has exposed degradation of care to seniors and instability of the workforce;
  • Privatization and deregulation have eroded the care seniors receive;
  • Government-funded profit-making long-term care (LTC) facilities profit at a cost to seniors, front-line workers and taxpayers;
  • The number of direct-care hours per resident is neither standardized nor regulated;
  • LTC facilities aren’t accountable for how direct-care funding is spent;
  • Government-funded profit-making LTC facilities profit by not providing the number of hours of direct care for which they are funded;
  • Profit is made by underpaying and overworking front-line staff, leading to high turnover and employment in multiple facilities;
  • Profit is made by contracting out food, laundry and other services to the lowest bidder;
  • Government doesn’t have an effective monitoring system to identify substandard care in LTC facilities, nor enforceable consequences; and
  • Family members or councils are often the first to identify inadequate care.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Include long-term care in the public health system, by creating national standards for care and staffing levels under the Canada Health Act and ensure accountability;
2. Eliminate profit-making by government-funded LTC facilities and ensure funds are spent as allocated and ban sub-contracting;
3. Standardize equitable and living wages and benefits, and implement single-site employment, for all staff;
4. Strengthen government oversight and initiate strong penalties and claw backs for facilities not complying with regulations;
5. Require independent family councils with protected rights.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Darren Fisher

As we have seen throughout this pandemic, vulnerable populations have been greatly affected by the consequences of this public health crisis. COVID-19 has resulted in tragedies in long-term care facilities and nursing homes right across the country.

In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to work with provinces and territories to set new national standards for long-term care so that seniors get the best support possible. The Government will also look at further targeted measures for personal support workers, who do an essential service helping the most vulnerable in our communities. Canada must better value their work and their contributions to our society.

 

Although long-term care falls primarily under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, in light of COVID-19, the Government of Canada will take any action it can to support seniors while working alongside the provinces and territories.

 

To date, the Government has responded in a number of ways: 

  • The Government of Canada and provincial/territorial governments recently finalized a Safe Restart Agreement. The Agreement involves investment of over $19 billion in federal funding that will help provinces and territories restart the economy over the next six to eight months, while making Canada more resilient to possible future waves of the virus. This includes $740 million in funding to support our most vulnerable populations, including infection prevention and control measures to protect those in long-term care, and those receiving home care and palliative care. Additional information can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/intergovernmental-affairs/services/safe-restart-agreement.html.

 

 

 

  • Up to $3 billion in federal funding is being provided to provinces and territories to support increased wages of low-income essential workers, which can include front-line workers in hospitals and long-term care facilities.

 

  • In collaboration with partners, the Health Canada-funded Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and Canadian Patient Safety Institute have launched an initiative to spread promising practices in preventing and mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on long-term care and retirement homes. The goal of the initiative is to better position participating facilities to prevent and manage any future outbreaks.

 

  • Health Canada continues to work with the Canadian Red Cross to support provinces and territories facing outbreaks in long-term care. Specifically, the Canadian Red Cross is recruiting and training individuals to support epidemic prevention and control, basic care for long-term care residents and long-term care site administration.

 

  • The Government of Canada also adapted the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program to respond to the impacts of COVID-19. A new temporary COVID-19 Resilience stream has been created to provide provinces and territories with added flexibility to use existing resources to fund quick-start, short-term projects, including health infrastructure, such as long-term care homes.

 

COVID-19 has exposed a number of issues and challenges in the way we care for seniors in Canada.  With an aging population, increasing rates of chronic disease and cost pressures tied to new drugs and technologies, our health system must adapt if it is to deliver better care and better outcomes at a cost that is affordable.

 

That is why the Government of Canada is providing $6 billion over ten years for provinces and territories to improve access to home and community care services, including palliative care.  This investment is expected to help more Canadians receive the care and services they need so that they may remain at home longer. Details of the bilateral agreements, including how federal funding will be spent, can be found on Health Canada’s website at:  https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/corporate/transparency/health-agreements/shared-health-priorities.html.

Open for signature
June 3, 2020, at 11:29 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
July 3, 2020, at 11:29 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Paul Manly (Nanaimo—Ladysmith)
September 24, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00008)
Government response tabled
November 16, 2020
Photo - Paul Manly
Nanaimo—Ladysmith
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia
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