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February 27, 2018

(TORONTO, ON) – Today, Ontario’s unions rallied alongside long-term care workers, seniors and families of residents, to demand the government pass Bill 33 (The Time to Care Act) before the spring election. The Bill would legislate a new minimum care standard for long-term care facilities in Ontario: four hours of daily hands-on care. The Bill will improve the lives of the 78, 000 seniors who live in long-term care.

“People are being denied the care they need because the minimum standard is far too low,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “Ontario can and must provide better quality care through the Time To Care Act. It’s not only residents who are affected – workers get injured when they are not given enough time to provide much needed care. No one wants to think of a family member denied assistance with eating or getting to the bathroom because standards don’t ensure that there is enough time to care for them. Our government can, and must, take action.”

“Right now, workers don’t have the time they need to properly care for our seniors living in long-term care. Staff have to rush through a checklist with each resident. They have no time to listen to them, no time to come when they need help to the bathroom and residents are being forced into incontinence. It’s just not right,” said Candace Rennick, Secretary- Treasurer of CUPE Ontario and a former long-term care worker. “It’s simply not acceptable that the people who spent their lives building our province and caring for our communities, are now being neglected in their final years.”

“Ontario’s long-term care homes have extraordinarily high levels of occupancy; they are full of residents who are complex and elderly, and there are not enough staff to care for them. As a result we have extremely high levels of violence, injury and even resident-on-resident homicide rates. It is a travesty,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the public interest group the Ontario Health Coalition. “There is a total consensus among the residents’, family, union, health professional advocacy and public interest groups that we need a legislated 4-hour care standard that would set an accountable level of care to make residents and staff safe from harm.”

Canada has the lowest care levels for long-term care residents in countries with equivalent economies, and Ontario has the lowest care levels within Canada.

Currently, support workers have only five to seven minutes to get each resident ready in the morning – this includes washing, dressing, and going to the toilet.

The majority of long-term care residents are over 85 years old and more than 75 per cent of them suffer from some sort of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The vast majority have mobility issues.

“Our government must respond by providing regulations that end this crisis in long-term care,” said Buckley. “Bill 33 must be passed today.”

The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For more information, visit www.ofl.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

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For more information contact:

Meagan Perry, Director of Communications
Ontario Federation of Labour
416-894-3456 l mperry@ofl.ca

Sarah Jordison
CUPE Communications
416-578-5638 l www.cupe.on.ca

Natalie Mehra, Executive Director
Ontario Health Coalition
416-230-6402

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