Frontline health care workers must be included in setting national long-term care standards
July 06, 2021
(Ottawa) The Canadian Health Coalition, comprising community organizations and unions representing frontline health care workers, is renewing its urgent call for the Government of Canada to enact legislated enforceable national standards for long-term care (LTC), and to provide significant additional funding for provinces and territories that is conditional on these improved standards being met.
“Listening to the voices of frontline health care workers, residents and their families is essential to redress the terrible shortcomings of the LTC system that were exposed by the pandemic,” said Pauline Worsfold, RN who is Chairperson of the Canadian Health Coalition.
In March 2021, the Health Standards Organization (HSO), a non-governmental agency, announced it is collaborating with the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group) to develop new National Standards for Long-Term Care.
The Canadian Health Coalition reminds the federal government of its commitment to bring about national standards for LTC, and the process by the HSO and CSA Group does not replace the need for legislated enforceable national standards with conditional LTC funding for provinces and territories.
Coalition members, including the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), Unifor, UFCW, United Steelworkers (USW), the Council of Canadians and others will ensure the views of frontline health care workers are included in the standards-making process.
The Coalition urges the HSO to improve working conditions in its new standards, including adequate staffing levels and ratios within long-term care facilities, to reach a minimum of 4.1 direct hours of care per resident per day. As long-term care expert and Canadian Health Coalition Board member Dr. Pat Armstrong reminds us, “Conditions of work are conditions of care.” This will require the HSO to take proactive steps to engage marginalized and racialized groups of people among LTC workers, residents, and families.
Removing for-profit investors from the long-term care system is also a shared priority of advocates. “The long-term care sector has been dominated by corporate investors who put profits first, and care second,” said Worsfold. “The companies failed Canadians miserably, and now it’s time to put residents, families and workers ahead of investor dividends.”
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National Director of Policy and Advocacy
Canadian Health Coalition