2 in 3 Canadians want government to take over long-term care facilities

Two in three Canadians want the government to take over long term care facilities as the COVID-19 pandemic exposes tragic realities about the conditions in which Canadian seniors and others who cannot care for themselves live.

Recent estimates are that 82 per cent of all deaths in the country have occurred in these places.

The latest study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute found 66% of respondents in Canada support nationalizing long term care facilities in order to increase the health and safety outcomes for people requiring long-term care, while just 34% would oppose such a move[1]http://angusreid.org/covid19-long-term-care/.

Support for government take over of long term care facilities appears to be a partisan issue.

Those who voted for the Conservative Party in last year’s federal election are a group divided, with 47 per cent favouring nationalization and 53 per cent opposing it. Among past supporters of the other major federal parties, at least three-quarters favour government control of privately owned long term care facilities.

Currently, long-term care falls under provincial jurisdiction and is not subject to national standards under the Canada Health Act.

The National Union of Public and General Employees has requested that the federal government extend the law to LTCFs in order to ensure consistent standards[2]https://nupge.ca/content/nupge-calls-federal-government-bring-residential-care-facilities-under-canada-health-act.

“I am calling on your government to extend the provisions of the Canada Health Act to include Canada’s residential care facilities. By doing so, you would ensure that they must meet the 5 principles of the CHA: public administration, accessibility, comprehensiveness, universality and portability,” Larry Brown, NUPGE President, wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau.

Brown believes adhering to these guidelines would be a concrete step to ensuring that the privatization of residential care facilities does not come at the expense of residents and staff.

“What is infuriating is that, in many of these instances, these tragedies could have been avoided,” Brown stated. “The broken system of long-term care and seniors care in this country is contributing to these disasters. It appears that a disproportionate number of the tragedies all took place in privately owned and operated facilities. Sadly, if that proves to be the case, that will not be a surprise for our members working in private residential care facilities.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that this will be a consideration after a post-pandemic review takes place.

References   [ + ]

1. http://angusreid.org/covid19-long-term-care/
2. https://nupge.ca/content/nupge-calls-federal-government-bring-residential-care-facilities-under-canada-health-act