Dear Premier Ford,
The Council on Aging of Ottawa says seniors and their families should not have to wait for long-term care reform
The tragic loss of lives of so many residents and staff in Ontario’s long-term care (LTC) homes during the pandemic should never have happened in Ontario. History will judge whether the province’s response truly values long-term care for those who both live and work in LTC homes.
Two excellent reports have recently joined the mountain of others in recommending the best way forward to repair Ontario’s long-term care sector. Ontario’s Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission’s Final Report (released on April 30, 2021) and the Ontario’s Auditor-General’s Special Report on COVID-19 Preparedness and Management in Long-Term Care (released April 28, 2021) present comprehensive analyses of the many deficiencies in the LTC sector during the first two waves of the pandemic. Both reports provide extensive recommendations to support real change to the sector.
The Council on Aging of Ottawa has been calling for fundamental and immediate changes to long-term care starting from its first report Long-Term Care in Ottawa: We Need Change Now issued in February 2020.
Not only is change for this important sector long overdue, but communities need to re-imagine how this care is provided in Ottawa and Ontario and trust must be restored in this sector for the thousands of seniors and their families who desperately need long-term care.
More than ever, this government needs to show strong and committed leadership in making these needed changes and ensuring that LTC is an integral, vital and strong part of health care. The pandemic only revealed the fundamental weaknesses already in the sector. Long-term care can no longer be the forgotten and poorly funded partner. We cannot continue to under fund, under pay, and rely on the voluntary efforts of the family to provide this needed level of care. The time to act is NOW.
Importantly, the Government needs to reward excellence and innovation and provide real consequences for poor performance. The Council was pleased to see recommendations from the Commission on person-centred care, improved palliative and end of life care, and expanding supportive home care. The very strong recommendations on staffing and human resources, infection prevention and control, and planning for future LTC needs, including respect for the seniors’ linguistic and cultural diversity, are also in line with the Council’s position.
Premier Ford – don’t let these latest reports gather dust. The next steps are YOURS.
President, Board of Directors
The Honourable Christine Elliott, M.P.P. Newmarket-Aurora, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
The Honourable Merrilee Fullerton, M.P.P. Kanata-Carleton, Minister of Long-Term Care
The Honourable Raymond Cho, M.P.P. Scarborough North, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility
The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, M.P.P. York-Simcoe, Minister of Francophone Affairs
Ottawa area M.P.P.s
Ottawa City councillors