Letter: Private LTC homes hugely problematic during COVID-19

Channeling Tommy Douglas to call for federal nationalization with national standards

To the Expositor:

It has become quite evident that throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, that in particular the privately run long-term care (LTC) facilities in Ontario have been hugely problematic with large numbers of deaths of residents and positive cases of COVID-19 with the resulting sickness in residents and front-line workers.

In some of these homes there have been verified reports of administrators withholding personal protective equipment (PPE) and N-95 masks from workers until Ontario court injunctions forced them to provide staff protection. In an unprecedented incident, administrators refused entrance to an Ontario health swat team that had been deployed to assist homes in crisis.

This behaviour by home administrators in a COVID-19 outbreak crisis puts the responsibility for resident sickness and death and for staff testing positive for COVID-19, and suffering the effects of it, directly on them and the private owners!

It has now become very clear that LTC homes in Ontario must not be allowed to continue under a “for profit” system and at the very least they need to all be converted to provincial public sector homes with it being mandatory that the workers in these homes all be members of a public sector union for their own protection and to keep administrators honest to ensure that resident and worker health and safety is always the top priority when the decimated sector is being rebuilt post COVID-19.

If Tommy Douglas was here with us now and looking at the destruction of the LTC sector by COVID-19, I’m thinking he would say, “The only hope for LTC facilities is to nationalize them all and form a federal ministry of LTC with a new and updated Canadian standards of LTC.”

I think we can all agree that Tommy had a few pretty good ideas in his lifetime!

Greg Young