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November 2, 2020

(Toronto) – The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is pleased that the Ford government has recognized the urgent need to establish a legally enforceable minimum standard of an average of four hours direct care time per resident per day in long-term care, but warns that commitment must be spelled out in legislation, and backed with appropriate investment and a commitment to full-time employment for PSW’s and nursing staff.

“The crisis in long-term care requires immediate meaningful legislated action with a detailed plan to implement the newly announced minimum care standards,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Patty Coates. “Care workers need a guarantee that personal support work, long-term care work, is decent full-time work with benefits and pensions.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour, our affiliated members that represent workers in long-term care, our allies and communities across Ontario demand that the minimum care standards in long-term care include a robust plan and approach to improving Ontario’s long-term care sector built on the following principles:

  1. Care standards must be detailed, holistic and include input from unions and the workers that provide hands-on care. Unions and workers must have input. Decisions on care standards cannot be left to powerful for-profit lobby interests.
  2. All work, particularly, long-term care work, must be decent work. That means, full-time employment, job security, access to paid sick days, benefits, pensions, and a livable wage with the recently instituted temporary $3 PSW pay increase made permanent.
  3. “Time to Care” must include a concrete staffing strategy plan, like that instituted in Quebec, which includes targeted recruitment, training and retention strategies. The plan must include aggressive onboarding strategies, targets and expedited timelines for recruitment, training and the retention of long-term care workers. The plan must start immediately, not four years down the road.
  4. Properly resourced. A commitment to instituting “Time to Care” standards must be backed with substantial and increased investment commitments.
  5. Guaranteed in legislation. Simply decrying minimum care standards through regulation will not suffice. Care standards must be permanently legislated.

“If the government’s final and completed care standards package is holistic, derived with input from workers and their unions, guarantees care work as well-paid, full-time work, grounded by targeted timelines for recruitment and training, backed with investment and spelled out in legislation then it will be more than just words on paper, it will be cause for real celebration by long-term care residents, families and the workers who care for them,” said Coates.

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

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