QUEEN’S PARK -- If the Liberal government had been addressing enforcement and funding concerns properly, then there wouldn’t be a crisis or a need for a full public inquiry into long-term care in Ontario, says Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.
The current Long Term Care Homes Act includes enforcement tools like license suspensions, financial penalties, and duty to report to protect seniors from neglect and abuse. Sadly, the government has been neither enforcing the Act to the full extent of the law nor acting on the hundreds of recommendations that were a blueprint for change to protect seniors in care.
“This is a clear failure by this Minister to live up to his mandate to guard seniors from neglect and abuse, and that I believe he should live up to,” Walker said. “Otherwise, how do we trust he will ever get to the promised 100-per-cent enforcement, and not just because he’s in election season now.”
While homes are inspected by the Ministry every year for compliance, a 2015 report from the Auditor General found that the Ministry was not doing enough to address its pattern of poor oversight of seniors in long-term care, including a doubled backlog of critical incident and complaint inspections.
“Last spring I put before the Minister a Private Member’s Bill to provide guaranteed funding for seniors in long term care to ensure they get better care, better oversight and protections – all of which they deserve,” Walker explained. “I believe seniors shouldn’t have to worry that their health and safety may be at risk. It’s sad the Minister doesn’t agree and has so far refused to enshrine it in law.”
Walker tabled Bill 110 after the government was exposed for underfunding long-term care by so much that even prisoners were being fed better than seniors.
“Our seniors deserve to have the best standard of care, oversight and protections in long-term care,” he said. “Sadly, this government’s indifference and incompetence has put their health and safety at risk that it now warrants a full public inquiry.”