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Monday: Unifor to push for four hours of direct care in long term care lobby

December 1, 2017

TORONTO – More than 50 long term care workers, represented by Unifor, will be at Queen’s Park on Monday, December 4 to advocate for four hours of direct care per resident, per day in long term care. The union activists will be meeting with members of all parties.

The union, and its predecessor unions, have been pushing for a minimum standard of care for more than 15 years. Currently, there is no minimum standard of care across the sector.

“The long term care sector is at a crisis point – short staffing, more complex cases and stagnant funding have created a situation that is deeply worrisome and unsustainable,” said Unifor Regional Director Naureen Rizvi. “Our members have first-hand experience in why we need four hours of direct, hands on care for every resident, every day.”

Unifor will be pushing for the following changes:

1. Pass Bill 33, An Act to amend the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 to establish a minimum standard of daily care.

  • The bill calls for a minimum legislated standard of care of four hours per resident each day, which can be adjusted (increased) if prescribed.
  • The standard of four hours of care would be comprised of nursing and personal support services in particular.

2. Quick implementation of Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors.

a) Within this plan, the government must establish a swift timeline for the roll-out of four hours of direct care per resident per day.

b) Within this plan, the minimum standard of care should be legislated and allow for prescribed changes within regulation.

c) Within this plan, increasing the “provincial average to four hours of direct care per resident per day” must be specific to staff who directly care for residents:

  • This number should only include direct, daily hands-on care. It should not include staff who are involved in administration, management or who do not play a direct role in caring for residents.
  • This number should be calculated based on the number of staff hours worked, and not the number of staff hours paid. For example, the calculation must exclude paid time for purposes which do not involve direct patient care (e.g. vacation, holidays, leaves of absence, sick time, training time, etc).
  • The standard of care should be an average for each home, as opposed to a general provincial average. This would ensure that there isn’t a disparity between homes with regard to the level of care for residents.
  • The standard of care should clearly and properly capture what four hours of care really involves – thus, the methodology matters.

3. Staff level reporting must be transparent and the standard of care must be enforceable. “The government’s new Action Plan for Seniors could be a good step, but it is still unclear that the plan will include four hours of direct care for residents. Without that, Ontario seniors are not getting the care that they need and we will be no further ahead,” said Health Care Director Andy Savela.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. In Ontario, Unifor represents approximately 160,000 workers, including 25,000 health care workers and 9,000 of whom work in long term care. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.