Ford Goverment’s Drive to Privatize Even More Long-Term Care Homes – Where COVID Has Killed So Many of Our Seniors – Triggers Province-Wide Protests

How much does Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Tory government, who slashed more funding to long-term care homes in the province last year, really care about the seniors in those homes and the under-resources staff strugging to care for them? Isn’t this a “right to life” issue?

One of the Protests is Planned In Front of Ford MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s Beamsville Constituency Office Starting at 12 Noon, this coming Wednesday, June 24th

Ontario Health Coalition Plans Protests Across Ontario As Ford Government Pushes Through New Laws to Privatize Home & Community Care, Stifle Class Action Suits, In Midst of Pandemic & Fails to Take Action on Emergency Staffing Crisis in Long-Term Care

A Call-Out from the Ontario Health Coaltion, a province-wide citizens network advocating for access for all to quality public health care

Posted June 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

A report from Canadian Armed Forces personnel on the conditions inside at least some of Ontario’s long-term care homes was described as “gut-wrenching” by Premier Doug Ford when it surfaced this May

One of the very few times I have dropped the F-bomb on this news site in response to anything I have read or heard in the news was about a month ago when that report from Canadian Armed Forces members was leaked out, describing in detail how horrific conditions are for our seniors struggling to survive in Ontario’s long-term care homes.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford claimed that he found what he read in this Armed Forces report “gut-wrenching,”

And yet here is his Conservative Party government – a party that has proven over the past two or three decades that anything like the “common good” is something it no longer cares about or comprehends – moving forward with legislation to further privatize long-term care homes in the province, even though statistics show significantly more seniors suffer COVID-related sickness and death, and just plain shitty care, in homes that a run by for profit, private rather than public operators.

Frankly, one gets sick and tired of all of the “right to life” B.S. coming out of the mouths of Ford minions like Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff. He and others in Ontario’s Conservative flock care about “right to life” right up to the moment of birth. After that, you are on your own.

As for seniors in Ontario’s privately-run, long-term care homes, given the horrific details members of the Canadian Armed Forces detailed in their recent report, they cay lay their and beg for help, until they die.

What kind of right to life is that?

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Now here is the News Release from the Ontario Health Coalition, calling out for province-wide protests this Wedensday, June 24th

Toronto – Tragically, over the last two weeks there have been several well-publicized deaths of residents in long-term care as a result of malnutrition and insufficient care.

The situation is worse than ever, reports the Health Coalition. Yet the Ford government has not taken any policy action to address the staffing shortage across Ontario’s long-term care homes.  In six homes, they sent in the military.

In other homes, they have left it to the homes to address staffing shortages by forging partnerships with hospitals in some areas, or by using funding voluntarily in an ad hoc way to top up some staffing hours. But there is no requirement to do so. There is no recruitment strategy (like Quebec has done), no permanent improvement to wages and working conditions, no improvement to training regimes.

The staffing shortage was a crisis province-wide prior to COVID-19. ..  

If nations like Germany, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands can provide full public insurance for long-term care for seniors, why can’t we do it? Do more tax cuts me that much to us that we are willing to risk placing senior citizens in facilities that may not be providing them suitable care?

The Ford government is expected to vote down all Opposition party amendments to the home and community care legislation in a Standing Committee on the Ontario Legislature this week of June 22nd, clearing the way for Bill 175 to go to Third Reading in the Legislature tomorrow or Wednesday. Under the new rules of the legislature, passed by the Ford government to limit debate and speed up the passage of legislation, the new law could be passed after only 5-hours of debate.

For those who wish to join the Coalition’s events which are all outdoors: masks are mandatory, all participants are asked to keep 2-metres distance at all times,  organizers will try to split the groups into groups of ten that are socially distancing (2-metres) among themselves and then each group will be spread even further apart from each other.

Car cavalcades will be an option for those who wish to stay in their cars. People are also encouraged to take photos of themselves with messages to the Premier and post them on social media as a form of virtual protest. A summary of the key issues with the new home and community care legislation Bill 175 is below.

List of Events Wednesday June 24 at noon (unless otherwise specified):

  • *IN TORONTO AT THE LEGISLATURE: *

*12 o’clock, noon, on Wednesday June 24* ~ *On the lawn at Queen’s Park (outside the Ontario Legislature in Toronto) and across Ontario* ~ We are asking everyone to keep 2-metres apart at all times and wear masks. For those who want to, you can join in your car by forming a car cavalcade that circles Queen’s Park on the inside lane of Queen’s Park Circle from noon until 12:30 p.m.~

*EVENTS ACROSS ONTARIO at 12 o’clock (noon) on Wednesday June 24 unless noted: **Please wear a mask and keep 2-metres apart at all times. All protests are outside. There will be some car cavalcades also, as listed*.

  • *Chatham*              MPP Rick Nicholl’s office, 111 Heritage Rd., Chatham (outside)
  • *Guelph*                 Intersection of Wyndham and Annette outside the
  • Quebec St. Mall (on the sidewalk)
  • *Kingston*              Teach in by Zoom (video/tele- conference) 7 pm to 8:15 pm.
  • Register to attend with Harold Pickering at haroldapickering@hotmail.com
  • *Kitchener *            MPP Amy Fee’s office, 4281 King St. E. (outside Tim Horton’s)
  • *London/St. Thomas* MPP Jeff Yurek’s office in St. Thomas, 750 Talbot St.
  • *Niagara*              MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s office in Beamsville, 4961 King St.
  • *Port Hope*            MPP David Piccini’s office, 117 Peter St.
  • *Sarnia*                    MPP Bob Bailey’s office, 805 Christina St. N. Point Edward.
  • *Sudbury*               Site 1 – NE LHIN office, 40 Elm St. (Rainbow Centre) Sudbury Ontario 
  • *Thunder Bay*       Mini Queen’s Park on James St.
  • *Toronto*                Queen’s Park outside the Main Legislative Building.
  • *Woodstock*         MPP Ernie Hardeman’s office, 12 Perry St.

Bill 175, the new home & community care legislation would gut the existing Home and Community Services Act, dismantle public governance and oversight of home care, hand over the remaining public part of home care to an array of for-profit and non-profit corporations and enable the corporations to contract and subcontract home and community care amongst themselves with no oversight. 

The law and its proposed regulation set up a new tier of unlicensed congregate care without clear limits and with less protections and standards than long-term care, a serious concern given the spread of COVID-19 in these settings.

The new plan would see private home care going into public hospitals, and even enables private for-profit hospitals to expand into the new tier of unlicensed congregate care, among many other changes that the Coalition has expressed deep concern about.

A full analysis is available on the Coalition’s website. Bill 161, also expected to be pushed through this week, will make it more difficult for people to launch class action lawsuits against private corporations, for example, against for-profit long-term care homes.

*~ Protecting Public Medicare for All ~*

Ontario Health Coalition

About the Ontario Health Coalition – The Ontario Health Coalition is comprised of a Board of Directors, committees of the Board as approved in the Coalition’s annual Action Plan, Local Coalitions, member organizations and individual members. Currently the Ontario Health Coalition represents more than 400 member organizations and a network of Local Health Coalitions and individual members. For more information on the Ontario Health Coalition and its advocacy work, click on – www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca

For Doug Draper’s recent news commentary on Niagara At Large on the Canadian Armed Forces report on the deplorable conditions in at least some of Ontario’s long-term care homes and for a link to the report itself, click on the following – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/05/26/shame-on-us/

Here is a related piece on this issue, posted on Niagara At Large earlier this year. To read it, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/05/13/shame-on-ford-government-for-taking-this-long-to-issue-emergency-order-for-ontarios-long-term-care-homes/

A P.S. from Doug Draper at NAL – 

If you are interested in protesting in front of the Beamsville, Lincoln/Niagara constituency office of Ford MPP Sam Oosterhoff, let me remind you that the Oosterhoff team called 911 for police last year when a group of mostly senior citizens across Niagara picketed there against a Ford government move to cut funding for public libraries in the province.

Like Trump, apparently the Oosterhoff team has a little problem dealing with people exercising their democratic right to hold a protest.

Here is just one of many media stories and columns on Ford government cuts to Ontario’s long-term care homes – https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2019/09/04/long-term-care-cuts-harming-seniors.html

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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