Time's up for Long-term Care Minister
What will it take to wake up the bureaucrats at Ontario's Ministry of Long-term care?
Firing Minister Fullerton may do the trick.
We all know too well the devastating effect COVID-19 has had on Ontario’s long-term care homes.
We also know it didn’t have to be this way.
For years, C.A.R.P. has documented this disaster-in-the making: inadequate facilities, spotty inspections, insufficient staffing.
The Ministry of Long-term Care did nothing.
When the pandemic hit, over 2,000 residents in Ontario’s long-term care homes paid the ultimate price, making up 75% of the province’s COVID-19-related deaths. The government scrambled to react, promising immediate action.
The second wave hit us and we’re still waiting for action.
More money to build facilities, more frontline workers, a new and overdue commitment to give each resident four hours of care per day—these are things that will take years.
We can’t afford to wait that long.
C.A.R.P. says it’s time to shake things up. We need drastic action to signal to the bureaucrats that things must change. Replacing the Minister of Long-term Care, Merrilee Fullerton, is a necessary first step.
Read the facts below, then sign our petition. And at the same time, make sure you’ve joined CARP.
Because it won’t get better unless we demand it.
A terrible record of inaction
- Ontario is the only province with a dedicated Ministry of Long-Term Care. You’d think this means Ontario recognizes the importance of this issue. But when we look at the actual track record of this Ministry, you see no such evidence. In fact, you see the opposite: lethargy, inaction, unresponsiveness.
- For openers, the Ministry doesn’t even properly inspect nursing homes or enforce the (far too few) results of those inspections. Last year, only 9 of the 632 homes in Ontario actually received a Resident Quality Inspection. What were all the inspectors doing? You’re paying their salaries – don’t you have a right to know?
- CBC Marketplace analyzed 21 violation codes for the most serious deficiencies, including abuse, poor infection control, unsafe medication storage and poor wound care, and found that 538 of the 632 homes were repeat offenders, with no consequences. Why is the Ministry asleep? Their sole focus is supposed to be making long-term care better.
- All of this is bad enough – but then COVID-19 came along. Did the Ministry spring into action and quickly develop emergency plans? No. In fact, according to testimony at the commission of inquiry the province created, the initial stages were marked by
- inadequate consultation with nursing home operators
- overly long waits for testing
- slow and inconsistent adoption of masking policies
- contradictory guidance and instructions
- And now, during the second wave, what do we have? Still no concrete plans for short-term action, particularly when it come to staffing. To be fair, some good ideas for the future, like more money to build and improve facilities, and a commitment to guarantee at least four hours of care per resident per day. But that won’t happen until 2025. Why so long?
We need to make the bureaucrats sit up and take notice.
We need to send them an unmistakable signal that it can’t be “business as usual.”
C.A.R.P. is a non-partisan organization, and we are proud of our record of working with all the major parties, welcoming their leaders to our events, and analyzing their programs in a non-political, objective way. So we are normally very reluctant to call for the firing of a minister by name.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. And unfortunately we know of no better way to wake up the sleeping bureaucrats at the Ministry of Long-term Care.
If you agree, please sign our petition below. And if you’re not already a member of C.A.R.P., please join and add your voice to our growing numbers.
Watch C.A.R.P.'s National Seniors Day event
Listen to the launch
C.A.R.P. joined Libby Znaimer this morning on ‘Fight Back’ to kick off our campaign calling for the Minister of Long-term Care to be fired.Listen now
C.A.R.P.'s new vision of care hits close to home
The numbers don’t lie—the vast majority of older people want to age in place.
So what’s stopping them?
Most seniors don’t have access to the supports and services they need to stay at home, forcing them into the long-term care facilities that have proven themselves grossly inadequate at best, and fatally dangerous at worst.
We know that. to keep our seniors safe, there’s no place like home.View our long-term care campaign
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Long before COVID-19 began ravaging long-term care homes, the country’s most vulnerable seniors were suffering from years of systemic neglect.Read more