Long-term care needs enforceable standards, not vague reports

    Unions team up to call for regulation in light of devastating CP

    TORONTO, July 8 /CNW Telbec/ - With fresh revelations that over 60 per
cent of long-term care homes violate provincial standards, unions representing
long-term care workers called, once again, for an enforceable minimum care
standard of 3.5 hours of hands-on care.
    "How do you solve a problem like poor quality in our long-term care
homes? With minimum standards that the government enforces, not with vague
reports that will only set up more deregulation and perpetuate lack of
accountability," said Sid Ryan, President of the Canadian Union of Public
Employees (CUPE) Ontario. Ryan is referring to the Liberals' recent acceptance
of a provincially commissioned report by consultant and former home care
industry lobbyist Shirlee Sharkey, which rejects a minimum standard of care.
    Four of the unions that represent workers in the long-term care sector -
CUPE, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 Canada, the
Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) and the Ontario Public Sector Employees
Union (OPSEU) - came together today to issue a clear rejection of the Liberal
government's failure to enact the real long-term solution for improving care
in long-term care facilities: enforceable minimum standards.
    "SEIU Local 1 Canada surveys continue to show that private nursing homes
in many cases still offer less than 2.25 hours of resident care per day, the
standard the Harris government eliminated and a standard Dalton McGuinty
promised SEIU prior to the 2003 provincial election the Liberals would
restore," said Sharleen Stewart, President of the Service Employees
International Union Local 1 Canada. "Nursing home residents need a minimum of
3.5 hours of daily care implemented immediately across all nursing homes. No
resident should have to wait another three years to see if vague government
promises will turn into reality".
    "Voluntary "guidelines" won't improve the quality of care for our
seniors," said Vicki McKenna, RN, First Vice-President of ONA. "The increasing
care needs of residents mean they need the experience and skills of RNs on
their care team, and guidelines just don't cut it. Only an enforceable minimum
standard of 3.5 hours of hands-on care will ensure they are receiving the care
they need."
    The Ontario government promised to introduce a regulated standard of care
but then trotted out a vague report that will only lead to a further decline
in care quality, said Patty Rout, First Vice-President of the Ontario Public
Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
    "Shirlee Sharkey's recommendations will take us down the road of less
accountability and more deregulation," said Rout. "But what do you expect from
a home care industry lobbyist? Scrap her report, and bring in enforceable
long-term care standards. Our seniors don't deserve this sham to continue one
moment longer."

For further information:

For further information: David Robbins, CUPE Communications, (613)
878-1431 (cell); Jacob Leibovitch, SEIU, (416) 347-4906 (cell); Sheree Bond,
ONA, (416) 964-8833 ext. 2430; David Cox, OPSEU Communications, (416) 788-9197

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