Ontario NDP Urges Ford Government to Reverse Cuts to Long-Term Care Homes in Niagara and other Regions of Province

Niagara Region’s municipal long-term care homes will lose $164,000 in 2019 and $391,000 in 2020

“These cuts will hurt vulnerable seniors living in long-term care.”

An Open Letter To Ford Government’s Minister of Long-Term Care Merilliee Fullerton from Ontario NDP MPP Teressa Armstrong

Posted August 29th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Dear Minister Fullerton, 

Last week, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said Premier Doug Ford indicated in a private meeting that cuts should not be made to long-term care homes.

The City of Ottawa is poised to lose about $800,000 in provincial funding for the four long-term care homes it operates as a result of your planned cuts to the High Wage Transition and Structural Compliance Premium Funds.

Warnings of billions of dollars in cuts to public services – this one circulated by the Ontario Health Coalition just before the June, 2018 Ontario election – failed to stop Doug Ford from getting elected with a majority government. Does anyone out there regret voting for him now?

Mayor Watson said he hoped the premier would follow through on his private comments with a formal and public statement. 

I’m writing to add the voice of the Official Opposition to Mayor Watson’s request. I urge you to publicly renounce these cuts and immediately reverse them. 

Your plan to cut these funding streams will have serious financial consequences for many long-term care homes in Ontario.

In addition to the financial shortfall your cuts will cause at Ottawa’s municipal longterm care homes, other municipal and not-for-profit homes have identified losses as a result, including: 

  • 1) Lanark Lodge in Perth will lose $196,452 in 2020 
  • 2) Providence Manor in Kingston will lose $234,121 in 2019 and $325,000 in 2020
  • 3) Villa Colombo in Toronto will lose $122,361 in 2019 and $489,444 in 2020
  • 4) Wentworth and Macassa Lodges in Hamilton will lose $140,000 in 2019 and $550,000 in 2020
  • 5) Sunnyside Home in Waterloo will lose $260,000 in 2020 
  • 6) Niagara Region municipal homes will lose $164,000 in 2019 and $391,000 in 2020

Minister, these cuts will hurt vulnerable seniors living in long-term care. You know that homes use the majority of their provincial funding for frontline staff to provide direct hands-on care to residents, and they are already stretched thin, and run off their feet.

In visits, roundtables and press conferences in recent weeks, we’ve heard that call bells go unanswered, seniors with dementia are left unsupervised, and seniors often receive far less personal care support than they need each day for help with things like hygiene — let alone the kind of one-on-one attention that help residents’ mental health and well-being. 

 Cuts of this magnitude will only result in fewer front-line workers on each shift, taking the amount of personal care time each resident receives from woefully inadequate to even worse, and potentially dangerous.

I urge you to immediately announce that, as per the Premier’s conversation with Ottawa Mayor Watson, your Ministry will not eliminate funding programs that will result in cuts to long-term care homes in Ontario.  

Sincerely,

Teresa Armstrong Member of Provincial Parliament, London-Fanshawe NDP Critic for Long-Term Care

(A Brief Afterword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Tory minions repeatedly try to justify cuts like this one to long-term care homes, and to other vital services like public health,  ambulance and child care, as necessary to reduce the provincial debt and “put money back in the pockets” of Ontario residents.

What is happening, instead, is that municipalities across the province are being put in the very difficult  position of letting public access to these services shrink or to make up the difference and have people pay for them at the local level through property taxes.

If municipalities decide to pick up the slack to save the service, then they get blamed for increases to property taxes, which are regressive taxes that hit lower income people harder, and Ford comes off looking like a hero for reducing the province’s budget.

Some deal that is. ‘Putting more money back in your pockets.” Hogwash!)

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“A politician thinks of the next election. a leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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