Feb 05, 2021

By Jane Brown

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It is often a topic of discussion on Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer; taking for-profit out of long term care, especially in light of the devastation caused by COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Now, the federal NDP leader is calling for the elimination of for-profit long term care by 2030, in a multibillion-dollar plan presented as a potential election promise.

In a statement released Friday, Jagmeet Singh accuses the minority Liberal government of underfunding healthcare and protecting the profits of large companies and shareholders.

In a call last week with stakeholders, Singh used Revera as an example of why for-profit needs to end in long term care.

“It is absolutely clear that Revera is engaged in aggressive tax avoidance practices and what makes this so offensive, what makes it an insult to injury, is the fact that Revera is the second largest for-profit long term care operator in Canada, Singh explained, “That it is the site of some of the worst conditions for seniors when we’re talking about infections, the lack of quality care and deaths due to COVID-19.”

Revera runs more than 500 seniors’ residents in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. It is owned by the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, which bought it out in 2007.

The New Democrats’ pre-emptive platform plank would see a national task force charged with crafting a plan to transition all for-profit care to a not-for-profit model in fewer than 10 years.

Several studies over the past six months have round that for profit care homes have been likelier to see more extensive COVID 19 outbreaks and more related deaths … exposing cracks in care models across the country.

Prime Minister Trudeau has reiterated that he respects provincial jurisdiction while seeking to protect seniors’ rights through billions of dollars in extra support funds transferred to the provinces over the past year.

Here in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford and Long Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton are accused of failing to protect nursing home residents in the second wave of COVID-19. This is the focus of a popular campaign by CARP – A New Vision of Aging.

The number of Ontario long term care homes in outbreak is slowly in decline, currently sitting at 206, as of this writing, but not before 3,627 residents died after contracting the virus over the course of the pandemic. The number of deaths in the second wave is at 1,810, just shy of the 1,817 deaths recorded in the first wave.

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