JANUARY 24, 2021 – Anyone following the tragic deaths in our long-term care homes knows that this sector of our province has been largely ignored over time by both the present Ontario government and previous ones. Out of sight out of mind would be a good description- until of course an election comes along and all of a sudden, all sorts of politicians are shilling for their votes.
Few people realize what it costs for a senior to stay in one of these homes and believe me they don’t go willingly, but out of necessity.
Out this way in rural south Ottawa it is quite common for a senior (or their children if the senior can’t afford it) to be paying $3,000 to $6,000 per month. In many urban centers it can be much more.
Regardless of where the senior is staying and because their health is so vulnerable, you would think these homes would have high safety standards during a pandemic.
Yet, the record shows otherwise, especially in for-profit homes run by the big chains. A recent report noted nearly twice as many were infected in for-profit homes and they had a 78% higher mortality rate. Of course, the PR folks always have an excuse, they are older homes, they are more crowded etc. If that is true, shouldn’t the home have stricter standards? Shouldn’t they be investing more money in rapid testing and in providing state of the art protective gear for staff?
The Ford government needs to start kicking some butt- legislate strict standards that must be met and crack down on the for-profit sector. If 3 of the chains can pay out $178 million to shareholders during the pandemic, there is no excuse for them needing government funds to improve safety protocols and standards in their homes.
Right now, it appears the government strategy is to rely on vaccinations to improve the conditions and mortality rate. With the screw ups in the vaccine roll out that is obviously a failed strategy.
In the meantime, out of sight out of mind until the daily case numbers come out.
Keith is a former Conservative political staffer with over 50 years of active involvement in Canadian politics. During that time, he has held quite a few party positions as well as political staff positions. Most recently, Keith was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Issues Management with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper (2003-2008). Prior to that he worked as an advisor in the Leader’s Office for Peter Mackay, Joe Clark and Jean Charest. Keith also served as the Chief of Staff to the minister in three Federal departments during Brian Mulroney’s government (1984-89). Additional political experience came as the staff person in charge of Question Period from 1997-2008 where he served in both the Opposition and Government roles. Keith is also known for having created one of the most effective political rapid response teams in Canadian politics. He also has municipal experience and he was a city councilor in a suburb of Montreal. Known for his bluntness and to the point comments, this blog is also known for its fairness and respectful treatment of politicians from all parties. A well-known political pundit, Keith has appeared many times on Canadian political panels and he has been interviewed by major Canadian networks including CTV, CBC, Global. He has also given presentations/speeches in various parts of Canada and the USA.