Senior care homes, COVID-19: death and working conditions

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As a result of 82% of all Covid-19 deaths in Canada occurring in long-term care homes and of the evidence in the last two posts of the four times greater death rate in private long term care homes compared to public ones, the Canadian Labour Congress is demanding a complete overhaul of the long-term care home system and the removal of private operators from the system with long-term care must operating under a national plan based on the principles of the Canada Health Act.

The Canadian Labour Congress is calling for an overhaul of the country’s long-term care facilities, saying they must be taken out of the hands of private operators to avoid the tragic loss of life experienced during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

CLC president Hassan Yussuff said the fact that the vast majority of the 4,280 Canadians who have died from COVID-19 lived or worked in long-term care facilities should be a wake-up call for all governments.

“Governments can no longer ignore the reality of what seniors are living in and the conditions in which the workers have had to perform their jobs with inadequate pay and how badly these homes have been managed,” he said in an interview on Friday.

“Reform is critical because otherwise all these people who have died have died for no good reason. If changes don’t come, the families will see a sense of betrayal.”

According to the National Institute of Ageing at Ryerson University in Toronto, 82 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Canada were connected to long-term care homes. On Thursday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam also said that about 81 per cent of deaths are linked to long-term care facilities.

“The bottom line is that these owners are not in it to provide care. They are in it to make money," Mr. Yussuff said. “Looking at the service we are seeing right now, nobody in their right mind would want to go into long-term care.”

The CLC, under Mr. Yussuff’s leadership, is sending a draft policy document to Ottawa and the provinces that criticizes the conditions of care in many long-term facilities as being unacceptable in a country as wealthy as Canada.

“The pandemic has revealed the brutal consequences of chronic and systematic funding cuts, privatization and under-investment in staff,” the CLC said in its paper. “Long-term care must be brought fully into the public system and regulated according to the principles set out in the Canada Health Act.”

Unlike hospitals or doctor visits, long-term care is currently not a core, publicly insured service under the Canada Health Act, and is not subject to federal statutes and regulations, the CLC said.

Instead, the sector is governed by a patchwork of provincial and territorial legislation, policies and regulations. Each jurisdiction provides a range of services at different costs. The CLC said this has led to inconsistency in the level and quality of care provided, how facilities are managed and how ownership is regulated across the country.

Although health is a provincial responsibility, the CLC said the federal government must lead a process to harmonize the patchwork system and set national standards of care in seniors homes.

“Remove private for-profit business from the long-term care sector. The care of elderly and vulnerable people is far too important to be an opportunity for private enrichment,” the CLC said.

“At facilities led by managers and owners looking after the bottom line, not the well-being of vulnerable residents, workers are struggling with low pay and inadequate time and resources. This directly impacts the quality of care they are able to provide,” the CLC said.

Governments must also ensure that staff at long-term care facilities are properly trained, provided with health and safety equipment and paid decent salaries, the CLC said.

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said it’s been known for years by all levels of government that for-profit long-term care homes were cutting corners to maximize profits.

“The federal government must put an end to the neglect felt by seniors in these centres and must work with provinces to develop national standards, a Care Guarantee, for long-term and home care like the Canada Health Act to protect our aging parents,” he said.


The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions is also demanding that a national plan for seniors' care be established. 

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions joins with other Canadian Labour Congress affiliates in supporting the calls to action in the report, Lessons from a Pandemic: Union Recommendations for Transforming Long-Term Care in Canada, released today. The CLC report reflects the CFNU’s previous recommendation for a national plan for safe seniors’ care, that supports seniors’ care as they transition through the health care system. Like the Canadian Labour Congress, the CFNU believes that our publicly funded health services need to be more comprehensive, and include community care, long-term care, mental health services and affordable access to prescription drugs through a national pharmacare program. ...

Faced with a highly contagious virus, the long-term care sector was unable to mount a strong defence. Its fragmented system, made up of public, not-for-profit and private (for-profit) establishments, impeded a centralized approach to stemming the spread of COVID-19. Most long-term care facilities pack seniors into rooms with very little space between residents; the lack of space in facilities has directly contributed to the rapid spread of the virus. Those employed directly by long-term care homes have to contend with low wages and precarious work conditions: largely part-time, casual and contract-based jobs with little or no benefits. As a result, many long-term care employees are forced to work in more than one nursing home or more than one job, increasing the potential for the virus to spread across facilities.

Given how vastly residents outnumber staff, it comes as no surprise that a CFNU survey found that residents often suffer from lack of timely care and, at times, omitted care. Current staffing levels are insufficient to meet the needs of this vulnerable population. The CFNU has also revealed in a recent discussion paper that violence between residents and against staff is endemic in this sector. Decades-old research shows that 4.1 direct hours of care per resident per day is required to ensure that seniors’ health isn’t eroded; according to research commissioned by the CFNU, quality care for seniors requires a minimum of 4.5 hours of direct care per resident per day, with at least one RN on site per shift.

COVID-19 was able to spread like wildfire through long-term care homes, fuelled by insufficient staffing and a lack of basic standards. About 80% of deaths related to COVID-19 in Canada have occurred in long-term care, with most deaths concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. ...

The CFNU supports the Canadian Labour Congress’ call on the government to immediately convene an emergency task force, which must include labour unions, to develop a plan for a comprehensive universal long-term care system that is publicly funded and exclusively not-for-profit. Long-term care must follow the principles of the Canada Health Act.


They sent a marine worker to jail for missing a course correction that resulted in an accident that caused two deaths. We need to charge these corporations and their principles with negligent homicide. The main difference for BC is the government basically nationalized the whole sector at the start of the pandemic. Full time jobs and full time wages mandated, at collective agreement scales.

I remember a number of years ago, when we had the BC Liberals, there was a rash of deaths from transferring people from public to private care and the spokesperson for the health authority said that they were old and were going to die soon anyways so the spike was no big deal. Thank heavens for our seniors in BC that those assholes were not still in charge.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has also demanded a national framework for long term care and the elimination of private long-term care homes. 

 In light of numerous COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term homes across the country, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says Canada should put an end to privatized facilities and establish a universal framework for seniors care.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period airing Sunday, Singh says the government must look to bring long-term care under the Canada Health Act and make it federally regulated, while doing away with the private system all together.

"I think we need to end them, I think there’s no question about it given the results we’re seeing, the evidence we’re seeing that some of the worst conditions that seniors are in and some of the highest deaths have happened in the for-profit long-term care homes," said Singh.

"Profit should not be the motive when it comes to how we care for our seniors."

According to a recent report by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at Ryerson University in Toronto, over 3,300 deaths have occurred in long-term care homes due to COVID-19, accounting for 82 per cent of the total fatalities in Canada.

With no standardized long-term care system in Canada, there’s been significant discrepancy in how these homes have fared through the pandemic.

Services are currently delivered through a patchwork system of not-for-profit and for-profit providers and delivered through a mix of publicly-funded programs, which can be reinforced by private services, and unpaid caregivers, states the NIA in a report about the future cost of long-term care in Canada.

Singh says the impact of COVID-19 on this demographic has made the need for a consistent and equitable framework for seniors all the more relevant.

"We absolutely need to look at developing a national standard, a care guarantee and then use the Canada Health Act to bring it into the public realm, it’s got to be public and it’s got to be high quality," said Singh. "The for-profit system has failed and long-term care homes in general have failed seniors and we need to do a lot better."


The Ontario NDP is demanding a public inquiry into the long-term care crisis in the province. 

In an interview on CBC's Power and Politics Ontario NDP Leader Andrew Horwath and Mark Zigler, who was the lead lawyer in the Wettlaufer Long-Term Care, discussed the crisis. Horwath noted that  "More than 1,200 long-term care residents in Ontario have died from COVID-19 out of a total of 1700 deaths in the province, and that there are outbreaks in more than 200 facilities across the province." Here is the youtube video of the interview(


Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath. (File). 

TORONTO, Ont. - With COVID-19 outbreaks in more than 200 long-term care homes across the province and more than 1,200 deaths, the official opposition is calling for answers. During a special sitting of the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday, NDP leader Andrea Horwath asked if the government will launch a full public inquiry into the situation in long-term care, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and decades before.

“The system is definitely broken,” Horwath said at Queen’s Park. “Will he (Premier Doug Ford) put partisanship aside and commit to a full independent public inquiry so we can learn what went wrong and how to fix this deeply broken system.”

Ford said there is going to be a review of the system that he says has been broken for decades and it will be up to the entire Legislature to fix it, but he did not commit to a public inquiry....

“Families with loved ones in long-term care are demanding answers and deserve a full public inquiry that will give them those answers,” Horwath said. ...

Opposition members also raised concerns regarding access to proper personal protective equipment for front-line workers in long-term care facilities. ...

“On Friday the premier insisted that PPE was available to frontline staff and personal support workers, but even as he was saying that, there were government plans to water down access to PPE,” Horwath said. “Will the premier make public the exact type and amount of supplies of PPE that are available.”

The NDP referred to a memo issued by the Ministry of Children and Community Services date May 8.

The memo reads: “For basic prevention, staff should wear cloth (non-medical) masks at all congregate care sites regardless of infection status. All suspect (symptomatic) and confirmed cases should be isolated in a single room and enhanced precautions must be deployed. All staff should use Droplet and Contact Precautions if they come within two metres of a suspected or confirmed case, this means enhanced PPE must be worn (surgical mask, eye protection, gown, gloves).”

A previous memo dated April 27 called for staff to wear masks in all congregate care sites regardless of infection status, but did not state non-medical.


The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)'s report on the terrible conditions in long term care homes is extremely timely in its demand for major changes, especially because of the Toronto Star's investigation's conclusion that "For-profit nursing homes have four times as many COVID-19 deaths as [Toronto-] city-run homes". (

In the summary of CLC's report on long-term care homes, the report stated: 

“This pandemic has laid bare the consequences of decades of funding cuts and privatization in the long-term care sector,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “The tragedy we’re seeing is a direct result of the move to a for-profit model. Long-term care must be offered as a public service.”

As of mid-April, the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in Canada’s long-term care homes account for four out of every five pandemic-related deaths in the country.

For years Long-term care workers, unions and advocates for health care and seniors have been demanding systemic change.

“The current system is broken,” said Yussuff. “We need to see funding cuts reversed, and an end to the dangerous profiteering in the sector. What we have seen during this crisis was preventable.”

Canada’s unions are calling on the government to immediately address the failings COVID-19 exposed in long-term care by:

  • Bringing long-term care into the public system and regulating it under the Canada Health Act;
  • Removing private, for-profit businesses from the sector;
  • Requiring proper staffing and health and safety protections for workers; and
  • Permanently raising wages and benefits for long-term care workers to match the value of the work.



I was astounded when I read that I and every other Canadian are joint owners of the worst LTC facilities in the country. WTF

Forest Heights Long-Term Care Centre in Kitchener is at the epicentre of the COVID-19 crisis in Ontario’s Waterloo Region. As of last Thursday night, 45 Forest Hill patients had died.


All told, Revera owns 500 properties in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom (where it is also in student housing). It houses 55,000 seniors and employs 50,000 people.

So who owns this giant? The answer is known to the LTC industry, if not to the general public. Revera is 100 per cent owned by the Government of Canada. Its board of directors is appointed by the Governor-in-Council, meaning the federal cabinet.


Astounding indeed.  There must be a public inquiry into all aspects of the national tragedy that is elder-care in Canada and radical changes made. The status quo is an ongoing atrocity which must not be allowed to continue. This is a minority federal government that can and must be compelled to initiate the necessary changes by whatever means necessary in concert with provincial jurisdiction.

Jagmeet Singh questions Justin Trudeau about the Federal government's role in improving conditions in long-term care homes  (and vid)

"How can you say that to families reeling with the loss, that it's not the federal government's responsibility to play a role in solving this problem...?"

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Act now: Make seniors care part of our public healthcare

New research by the Toronto Star found that seniors living in for-profit care homes are four times more likely to die from the virus than seniors in public homes. [1] Study after study shows these offer inferior care because they’re designed to maximize profits -- not seniors’ health.[2][3]

The virus has exposed the gaps in our long-term care system -- where homes that should be providing seniors the dignity they deserve in their final years, are instead the subject of daily horror stories. 

Now, as the government looks for long term solutions to recover from the pandemic, we can either make seniors care part of our public healthcare system -- where living and working conditions meet the standard of care we expect for our parents, grandparents, even ourselves -- or continue to fail seniors with a broken system and devastating results.

If you think seniors care should be a part of universal healthcare instead of a for-profit business -- will you add your name to the petition?


Kropotkin's link about the government of Canada owning Revera didn't work.  I hope this one does.


Here is what I find particularly maddening about the situation with the nursing homes. Regardless of how little we knew about coronavirus, the one assumption that is very safe to make about any respiratory infection is that it will hit the elderly very hard. Our first cases arrived in the country on January 22, and we didn't record a fatailty from this disease until March 9. We knew this would be a problem, we had plenty of time to prepare, and we did not. That is a major shame and scandal.

It seems to be long-term care facilities that are primarly responsible for the expansion of the current phase of this pandemic. I truly believe that if our elder care facilities (along with our meat packing plants, for that matter) had been better prepared and had better safety protocols, that these outbreak numbers would have been much smaller and our overall case count in the country would be much lower at this point.


This is as relevant to Canada's shocking lack of long term care pandemic preparation  as UK:

"...Whatever else the pandemic might be, it is neither unpredicted nor unexpected. It has been part of government security and health planning for over a decade. Why then has the state's response been so chaotic? The truth is that COVID-19 has exposed the frailties of a whole way of governing society: The neoLiberal regulating state, where action plans and reams of 'best practice' documentation * substitute for the capacity to deliver..."


Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Planning Guidance For the Health Sector * (2015)

"...Long-term care and other community residential care: Will long-term care or other residential facilities for the elderly or disadvantaged be at significant risk of outbreaks? What is the impact on these facilities, their services and HHR (health human resources)?"

Did the research. Knew the risks. Did nothing about them. Thousands of our elderly perished in apalling conditions as a result of this official criminal negligence. A public inquiry must be held. See CLC guidelines and sign petition calling for national Seniors Care above. (#57, #60)

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Below are some excerpts from the Canadian Labour Congress report on the disaster that has resulted in 80% of deaths due to Covid-19 occurring in long-term care homes in Canada, the highest percentage by far for any of 14 countries for which data is available. Major reforms are needed both for this pandemic and for future ones because history tells us this will not be the last and modern trans-national travel and climate change are speeding up the rate at which diseases are spreading around the globe. 

Starving our health care system of resources has undermined the capacity of the system to provide services Canadians need, including hospital, primary, home, community, mental health, dental, vision, and long-term care. The staggering loss of life in long-term care homes due to COVID-19 is the result of problems that long preceded, but have been alarmingly exacerbated by, the current crisis.

Labour advocates and allies have been sounding the alarm on the systematic dismantling of the public health care system, and the ever-increasing privatization of health care services for years. For-profit care comes at the expense of quality and cost, with evidence that private facilities have seriously underperformed compared to publicly owned and operated ones. 

The exclusion of long-term care from the Canada Health Act has allowed for the proliferation of private for-profit care in our country.   ...

The demand for long-term care spaces already exceeds current capacity, and will only grow with the aging population. There are more seniors, 65 years and over, than there are children 14 years and under. In 2018, seniors 65 years and over accounted for 17 per cent of all Canadians, by 2068 they will account for between 21 per cent and 30 per cent of the population. ...

Governments have commissioned reports on how to fix these facilities. The three issues often identified were:

the amount of care received; the quality of care; and the transparency of communicating information to the resident’s family. ...

The privatization of long-term care has resulted in a major increase in precarious jobs. The expansive growth of the private long-term care industry has lead to a further devaluing of care work, and driven down workers’ wages, in order to boost corporate and shareholder profits. The pandemic hit Canada at a time when health care positions had been systematically cut back and made increasingly precarious. ...

Unions, experts and advocates sounded the alarm about the lack of PPE for workers at long-term care homes, but these warnings went unheeded. ...

Due to chronic underfunding, the workload of all workers in long-term care homes is unimaginably heavy. Understaffing of long-term care homes is unsustainable for workers as well as for residents. This has an impact on the amount and quality of care for residents and means health care workers are more at risk of injuries. For employers at long-term care homes, understaffing lowers operational costs. The lower the staff-to-resident ratio the lower the costs. 


Research done by the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid almost two decades ago determined that 4.1 hours of care per resident per day was the minimum required, any less would result in issues like weight loss or pressure ulcers.26 The
4.1 hours of care per resident per day is for direct caring provisions to the resident and excludes non-nursing supports such as dietary, laundry and housekeeping. ... Currently, few provincial and territorial jurisdictions require minimum staffing levels and none meet the minimum 4.1 hours standard of care for a resident per day. ...

Many long-term care residents show aggressive behaviours that are the result of a form of dementia or other cognitive impairment. This is a reality of the workplace. According to a poll of frontline, long-term care staff about their experiences with workplace violence:  90 per cent of care aides and RPNs have experienced physical violence; and  70 per cent of racialized, Indigenous and minority staff experience related harassment. ...

The expansive growth of the private long-term care industry has led to a further increase employment precarity, devaluation of care work, and has driven down wages to boost corporate and shareholder profits. The privatization of long-term care has also facilitated a growth in the casualization of the workforce.


Patient Advocacy Group in Quebec Says Province Violated Seniors' Rights

"The head of a Quebec patient advocacy group says the situation in long-term care homes is a scandal. 'They affected the fundamental rights of thousands of Quebecers and Canadians, people who had the basic right to receive vital care, not be neglected,' Paul Brunet told MPs. Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the long-term care crisis is a failure that we are going to face up to..."


Pickering Wants Investigation into Coronavirus Outbreaks that Killed 71 at Long Term Care Home

"The city of Pickering is calling on the provincial and federal governments to conduct an investigation into the coronavirus outbreaks and deaths at the Orchard Villa long-term care home. There have also been several calls for a public inquiry, including from the Ontario NDP, but the province has not confirmed whether it would conduct one...."


Dave Lindorff: COVID-19 is Massacring US Elderly in Nursing Homes, Neglected for Years by a Power-Hungry Industry

"The elderly in US care institutions are dying disproportionately from COVID-19. The Pandemic has revealed the extent to which their well being and safety have been sacrificed by an industry that prioritizes profit and influence. It turns out that one third of all COVID-19 deaths have been patients and caregivers working in the nation's 7,700 nursing homes for the elderly and disabled..."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Ontario PPE guidelines based on supply, not protecting workers

Gloria Turney, is incensed at the death of her fellow union member and home care worker, Arlene Reid. 

Reid, aged 51, tragically died a few days after contracting COVID-19. Her primary job was as a home care worker for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) in Peel Region (Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon). 


The science

Jim Brophy, faculty member at University of Windsor and an occupational health expert, says that the government’s guidelines on personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers are not based on scientific evidence. 

He believes they are based on the global PPE supply shortage, and says the government should be honest with the public and ensure frontline workers are protected.

The Ontario government’s directives for health care workers are consistent with the federal government’s guidelines. They’re premised on the belief that COVID-19 is spread through droplets or contact, and there are some experts who back this assertion. They contend that there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that it’s transmitted through airborne particles. 

The government recommends using a surgical mask along with other protective gear when workers are providing care to patients suspected or confirmed with COVID-19. 

Thereby, health care employers don’t need to provide N95 masks to workers, which are essential when dealing with an aerosolized virus as they filter out 95 percent of small particles.

Government guidelines instead state that N95s should only be provided during aerosolized procedures, such as intubating patients on a ventilator. 

But Brophy says that multiple studies over the past several weeks indicate that the virus can be aerosolized. In other words, COVID-19 can spread merely through breathing, or through the release of small particles coming from coughs and sneezes.


Even someone as cynical as I about Canadian political apathy found it hard to believe how easily the holocaust of elders in our care homes appears to have been countenanced. I would have expected an unstoppable national groundswell of rage and anger at a political class and public health authorities that knew all along how exposed our seniors were to such things as COVID and DID NOTHING TO PROTECT THEM. Not to mention the awful exploitation of overworked, underpaid staff forced to endure such horrible working conditions. There should be a national public inquiry or Royal Commission into all aspects of this great crime. For that is indeed what it is. We know how little Canadians did over such a long time to stop Indigenous genocide here. Are Canadians again really going to let something so monstrous just blow over...?


Andrea Horwath on the matter

"It's unconscionable for the Ford government to refuse to launch a full, independent public inquiry into how badly Ontario's LTC system has failed vulnerable seniors and how to fix it. This is salt in the wound of families grieving the loss of loved ones to COVID19 in care. 1/5"



The Ontario NDP put forward a motion for a full independent inquiry into the Ontario's long term care (LTC) system following the deaths of 1,413 in  LTC homes. The system needs a drastic overhaul and, while many of the problems are obvious, a deep analysis needs to go into what a high quality system should be that replaces it. 

Ontario’s NDP Leader calls it “unconscionable” after the Conservative government threw cold water on its motion to hold a full independent public inquiry into the province’s long-term care system.

The motion was introduced Tuesday afternoon, just hours after the Ford government said it would hold an independent commission into how COVID-19 spread through long-term care and retirement homes across the province.

“For the government to review the government with a behind-closed-doors government-controlled commission is not good enough,” declared Andrea Horwath.

Of the 1,919 deaths so far across Ontario, 1,413 have been in long-term care homes, and there are outbreaks at 190 facilities as of Tuesday.

The Ontario government also requested the aid of the Canadian Armed Forces at five facilities in the province.

The commission is not expected to start its work until September. In the meantime, the government will finalize details like how to protect residents and staff from future outbreaks, and when it will report back to the province.

However, the NDP said only a public inquiry could find and fix the problems that plague long-term care. It noted a step the government could take right away to protect staff and residents would be to make a $4 an hour raise for personal support workers working during the pandemic permanent. It also pointed to creating minimum care hours for each resident and regular inspections mandatory.

“To fix the system,” said Horwath, “we need to give a voice to seniors, workers, experts, and families who have lost loved ones. We need to closely examine the role of private, for-profit corporations.”

“Voting no to a public inquiry is salt in the wound of families grieving the loss of loved ones to COVID-19 in long-term care, and for health care heroes who are run off their feet and still pleading for protective equipment,” she continued. “It is a cause for all of us to worry that the painful, dangerous, decades-in-the-making problems in long-term care are not going to change.”



jerrym wrote:

The Ontario NDP put forward a motion for a full independent inquiry into the Ontario's long term care (LTC) system following the deaths of 1,413 in  LTC homes. The system needs a drastic overhaul and, while many of the problems are obvious, a deep analysis needs to go into what a high quality system should be that replaces it.

Inquiries are one thing but most people who have intimate dealings with the sector think that it needs to be publicly owned with sufficient staff being paid good wages and benefit to care for the clients. The people providing the care will take care of the rest of the problems if given the resources to do a good job.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

jerrym wrote:

The Ontario NDP put forward a motion for a full independent inquiry into the Ontario's long term care (LTC) system following the deaths of 1,413 in  LTC homes. The system needs a drastic overhaul and, while many of the problems are obvious, a deep analysis needs to go into what a high quality system should be that replaces it.

Inquiries are one thing but most people who have intimate dealings with the sector think that it needs to be publicly owned with sufficient staff being paid good wages and benefit to care for the clients. The people providing the care will take care of the rest of the problems if given the resources to do a good job.

Absolutely right. The root of the problem, as usual, is oligarch-dominated governments cutting taxes and services to ensure that the very rich become even more rich.


The Leaked Secret COVID Policy (and vid)

"This is a deliberate attempt to cull the elderly Was this really planned by the government in UK Care homes. Controlled Euthanasia?"

Neoliberal governments worldwide seem to all have similar results despite knowing full well ahead of time the vulnerability of these homes and the longstanding deficiencies which made them so.


COVID-19 Infections Skyrocket Among Troops Deployed in Long-Term Care Homes

"DND confirming 28 soldiers serving in Quebec and Ontario faciities have tested positive..."


COVID-19 Cases Soar in Laval Care Home

90 residents dead so far...WTF?!


Union Ask Premier To Take Control of Scarborough Long-Term Care Home

"Extendicare Guildwood had 10 resident cases on May 1, facility now has 93...'Frankly, we don't know who is in charge.."

How much longer do we watch this long-care death machine go on? This is too much of an ongoing horror-show to ignore. Urgent attention is necessary. Why are Canadians not demanding this be put right and our elderly properly taken care of now!?

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Do something!



Michael Moriarity wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

jerrym wrote:

The Ontario NDP put forward a motion for a full independent inquiry into the Ontario's long term care (LTC) system following the deaths of 1,413 in  LTC homes. The system needs a drastic overhaul and, while many of the problems are obvious, a deep analysis needs to go into what a high quality system should be that replaces it.

Inquiries are one thing but most people who have intimate dealings with the sector think that it needs to be publicly owned with sufficient staff being paid good wages and benefit to care for the clients. The people providing the care will take care of the rest of the problems if given the resources to do a good job.

Absolutely right. The root of the problem, as usual, is oligarch-dominated governments cutting taxes and services to ensure that the very rich become even more rich.

The reality is that Ford majority government is going to be in power for another two years and there is no chance that they will introduce anything more than token changes to the health care system and certainly will not turn the current shambles over to the public sector. After all they it was the Progressive Conservative Harris government that privatized a large part of system.

Mike Harris had a lasting impact on long-term care when his Progressive Conservatives oversaw the expansion of private ownership in a sector short on regulations and standards. Harris, having spearheaded for-profit ownership back then, now profits handsomely from it himself.

Today, as chair of Chartwell Retirement Residences, the former premier presides over a sprawling operation that describes itself as “the largest retirement living company in Canada.” Didn’t know that? (

The Ontario Liberals had 15 years to change the system, during which they did nothing, beyond an image papering over of the problem, something, like climate change, which they are very good at, one has to admit. 

In order to save face but keep the corporate care lobby on his side, McGuinty had to orchestrate the “reform process” enshrined in the Long-Term Care Homes Act (LTCHA). Despite recent reports such as the 2005 Casa Verde inquest and the Romanow Commission that affirmed minimum staffing standards and public provision of care, McGuinty tasked Elinor Caplan and Shirlee Sharkey to reinvestigate both competitive bidding and understaffing and come up with the correct recommendations that wouldn’t jeopardize votes or party donations. ...

No Legislated Minimum Standard of Care: Ontario is the only province that doesn’t use a legislated minimum care standard, which is estimated to be between 4 and 4.5 hours per resident per day. Former Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty campaigned on a promise of a staffing standard but failed to include it. ...

Continuing Competitive Bidding: The other campaign promise McGuinty broke with impunity was the end of competitive bidding for licenses and proposals. Dubiously low bids and big debts on the account books ushered corporate chains into a new phase of industry consolidation. ...

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been exchanged between corporate care chains and party delegates since the 1990s (Table 2). Registrations of the Ontario Long-Term Care Association show they lobby both parties around the clock for their interests, even using key Liberal Party personnel during the crucial years of the LTCHA (Table 3) like key Conservative Party people who were deployed during the important legislative window of the late 1990s.  ...

In the neoliberal period, lobbyists with deep knowledge of the political system and public assistance programmes are sent to carve away parts of the welfare system that support an uptick in the profit rate.(

You can bet that the Ford government will avoid a public inquiry because they don't want the public to go on being reminded of the problems that occurred under their watch. They will block a public inquiry at all costs unless the pressure is so great that the damage from not doing one is more than not doing one, which makes it highly unlikely. Demanding a public inquiry can put Ford on the defensive for now. But it needs to be followed up with a detailed plan for a public sector long term care program based on the highest standards. However, the private system, with minor adjustments for appearance sake, is what we are going to have for at least the next two years in Ontario, because the private long term care sector is a major contributor to the PCs  

ETA: and it wouldn't be much different under the Liberals because they will take contributions from the private LTC operators, just as they did in the past when their previous 'reforms' helped put the system where it is today. It is interesting to see our Liberal trolls haven't made a single post on this topic, or on climate change. I guess they don't think these topics, which merely involve life or death, aren't that important in the grand scheme of who wins in politics. 



In the meantime this project was in the works and the timing of rolling it out is super. I heard the other day that dementia patients have been the hardest hit because they don't self isolate and can't be sentenced to solitary confinement.  I hope that this will become a model for other parts of the province.

May 25, 2020

Seniors in the Comox Valley will soon have access to innovative long-term and dementia care.

Island Health is thrilled to have signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to build and operate a 156-bed dementia village in the Comox Valley.

“Our government continues to take action to ensure seniors, especially those with complex care needs, are receiving the best care possible,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Friends and family should be confident knowing a loved parent or grandparent with dementia is in a safe environment, which is why I am pleased to see this project take another step towards meeting the needs of seniors in the Comox Valley.”

“We know there will be increased demand for dementia care in the years ahead and Island Health is committed to preparing our communities to meet those needs,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair. “We are so excited to see Vancouver Island’s first publicly funded dementia village be built in the Comox Valley.”

The dementia village will feature 148 publicly funded long-term care beds and eight publicly funded respite beds. It will be built on the site of the existing The Views long-term care home and the former St. Joseph’s General Hospital. Once completed, the dementia village will replace the existing beds at The Views.


Further to the dementia care home project.

Construction of the new dementia village is estimated at $53 million.

The new dementia village will feature individual housing units for up to 12 residents, who will have their own private room and bathroom.

Residents will be involved in everyday activities within their household or the village and amenities such as community gardens, child daycare, art studio, bistro, chapel, and Island Health-funded adult day programs are also included.



Get Patients Out of Scarborough Nursing Home With COVID-19 Families Say

"Relatives of Extendicare Guildwood residents are demanding the province act to save remaining patients at the Scarborough nursing home, or at least help them to die comfortably. The homes owner, Extendicare (Canada) Ltd on May 22 told families  93 residents at the 169 bed facility were confirmed to have COVID-19, 27 had died and 25 staff had also contracted the virus..."


Military Reports 36 Cases of COVID-19 in Members Working in Quebec, Ontario Nursing Homes

"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canadian military will keep assisting in nursing homes in Ontario and Quebec, though 36 members of the CF have come down with COVID-19 while doing so. That's up from 28 cases of the coronavirus among these troops less than a week ago. The military has been deployed to nursing homes in the two provinces to reinforce workers overwhelmed by the illness..."

Like the century-long residential school system which Canadians also paid little attention to, apalling conditions in  long-term care home COVID death camps for the elderly didn't just happen. 'Not my problem' IS the problem.

[email protected]


'Gut-Wrenching' Military Report Sheds Light on Grim Conditions in Ontario Nursing Homes

"Graphic Warning: Here is the full report from the CAF. Details may be disturbing..."

National indifference to this longstanding problem is even more disturbing.


The url below includes a video on the horrendous, god-awful state of Ontario long term care homes revealed in the military report on the situation and includes today's annoucement by Ontario Premier Doug Ford that the province has launched an investigation into five long-term care homes following a scathing report from the Canadian Armed Forces on facilities in the Greater Toronto Area.

The question is why it took the military report becoming public for the Ford government to start an investigation. 

There is also a military report about what the military found in Quebec Long Term Care Homes. Considering Quebec's death toll is even higher, what will it reveal? 

I think everyone knows the answer to both questions.

The third question is what will be done right now and will it be anything more than windowdressing on the hell that is the situation in these long term care homes.


Jane Philpott Says Military Report on Long-Term Care Homes 'Has Shaken Us To Our Core' (and vid)

"Former Liberal Health Minister Jane Philpott, who was ejected from caucus last year during the SNC-Lavalin scandal, says it's time for a national inquiry into conditions in Canada's long-term care homes."

I agree. How about it Justin?

[email protected]


*Read CAF report @ #80


Eldercide Ontario-Style (radio)

"A tough but necessary listen..."


Military Report Alleges Horrific Nursing Home Conditions (and vid)

"A Canadian military report is shining a spotlight on shocking conditions inside 5 Ontario long-term care homes, but many say the problems have been known for years."

Of course, but good Canadians get their noses rubbed in it again to foreclose habitual denial of reality/responsibility to act.


PM Addresses Long-Term Care Home Report (and vid)

"We need a national inquiry and a national strategy. It's simply not good enough to make a symbolic gesture..."


"Multiple thousands of seniors died preventable deaths in long term care facilities while it was known at the outset that they would be the most vulnerable victims. I am shocked and appalled by the lack of leadership."

I'm not.


Canada's federal and provincial governments have been warned for years about the problems in long term care homes and are now pretending to be shocked at these problems. The costs of fixing this will be high but the alternative is to continue having seniors homes as the residence of the Grim Reaper. 

Much of the needed tax revenue could come from the corporate tax-giveaways and the offshore tax-haven trillions if our federal government is willing to make meaningful efforts to get these revenues.

Federal and provincial politicians expressed disgust and dismay at what the military uncovered and promised action, but researchers, experts and advocates say they've been raising the same concerns for years to no avail.

"This is rampant in long-term care," said Diana Pepin, who became a vocal advocate for reform after her 86-year-old mother was abused in an Ottawa care home.

She captured several incidents of abuse against her mother using a hidden camera in 2018, including a personal support worker who told her non-verbal mother she should die as she was getting her ready for bed.

There has been inquiry after inquiry, but little has been done to fix the problem, she said.

While disappointed it took military interference to bring the issue to the foreground, she said this should finally spur some kind of federal action.

So far, Ontario and Quebec have asked the federal government for money to try to fix systemic issues, but experts say that's likely not enough.

"We have to do this together as a country," Carole Estabrooks, who has collected data on long-term care for 15 years as the head of the Translating Research in Elder Care program at the University of Alberta.

"We have to stop the bickering and the jurisdictional issues and act together so that we have some national standards, some national expectations, some resources that are attached to that."

Unlike the bulk of Canada's universal health-care system, the federal government has no jurisdiction over long-term care.

If Canadians believe their acute-care system should exist under federal legislation that guarantees certain principles, it's not unreasonable to expect that continuing care should exist under the same national framework, Estabrooks said, adding that it should include home care, as well as nursing homes and retirement residences.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has advocated for the long-term care system to be brought under the Canada Health Act, the legislative framework underpinning universal health care. ...

The costs associated with long-term care without making significant changes could be massive, according to Ryerson University's National Institute on Ageing.

The institute projects public spending in nursing homes and private homes will grow from $22 billion in 2019 to somewhere between $71 billion and $98 billion annually in 2019 dollars by 2050.

On the high end, that would represent over one-quarter of all projected personal income tax revenue just to maintain the level of care provinces are providing now, the institute said.


The military report on Quebec's long term care homes reveals it, like Ontario, has many deep problems. 

Why did it take so many deaths for Legault to introduce higher pay levels and the training of more aides? Because this problem could sink him in the next election, if he does not appear to be addressing it. 

A report prepared by the Canadian military about Quebec's long-term care homes says the division between "hot" and "cold" zones, proper use of protective equipment and staffing shortages remain major challenges in the facilities.

The report was shared with the Quebec government Tuesday night and made public this morning, on the heels of a separate, more damning report a day earlier about conditions in Ontario.

The Quebec report provides an account of the conditions in 25 homes where members of the military have been assisting during the pandemic.

In many cases, the military describes how equipment and staffing were inadequate when they arrived but have since improved.

At the Centre d'hébergement Saint-Laurent in Montreal, for example, the report notes some staff weren't properly using protective equipment and were moving between "hot" zones, for those who have tested positive, and "cold" zones, which are supposed to be COVID-free. 

The report said military personnel helped train staff to improve the situation. ...

More than 60 per cent of deaths related to COVID-19 in Quebec have occurred in CHSLDs. Nearly a third of the facilities in the province are currently battling outbreaks. 

Workers on the front lines have described chaos inside the homes, including a lack of protective equipment for staff and for residents who had not yet caught the disease. ...

In reacting to the report, Premier François Legault announced a program to hire and train 10,000 new patient attendants by the fall.

He said the government would offer a three-month training program over the summer, during which the prospective employees will be paid $21 per hour. If they complete the program, their starting salary will be $26 per hour.  


NDPP wrote:

Jane Philpott Says Military Report on Long-Term Care Homes 'Has Shaken Us To Our Core' (and vid)

"Former Liberal Health Minister Jane Philpott, who was ejected from caucus last year during the SNC-Lavalin scandal, says it's time for a national inquiry into conditions in Canada's long-term care homes."

I agree. How about it Justin?

[email protected]


*Read CAF report @ #80

Jane Philpott is demanding reforms now but she was health minister from 2015 to 2017 under the Trudeau Liberals. On CBC's Power and Politics, she said we shouldn't look back to blame those involved in the long term care problems in the past because every Canadian was failing to respond to the problem to some extent, which has an element of truth to it. However, some had much more power to change things than others and therefore their role should be examined critically. Could Philpott be trying to avoid any examination of her own record?




Leaving Out Long-Term Care Was Medicare's Original Sin - And  We're Paying For It Now

"Long term residential care is largely invisible in Canadian policy debates,' wrote the authors of a report from the CCFPA entitled 'They Deserve Better' - in 2009. The voices of those soldiers might be too hard to ignore - which means it's up to Justin Trudeau's government and its provincial counterparts to address a problem that has been too easy to avoid and for too long..."

For a national inquiry and an end to eldercide in Canada's 'care homes':  FIX IT NOW!

[email protected]


Ford Said He's Done 'Taking Bullets' For Union Members Who Wouldn't Inspect Care Homes

"Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that he's sick of 'taking bullets' for unionized government inspectors who, he alleges, refused to go into the province's long-term care homes to carry out inspections in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because of safety concerns. 'The truth of the matter is [Inspectors] were refusing to go into these homes,' Ford said during his daily press briefing. 'Enough's enough. They have to be accountable too.'

OPSEU President SmokeyThomas, in an interview with CBC News, called Ford's statements about inspectors refusing to work 'patently untrue'. Instead, he said, managers gave direction to inspectors not to enter long-term care homes. Thomas also said that issues plaguing the long-term care sector are no secret and have long been flagged to the government..."


Why It Took An Outside-the-Box Use of the Military to Rip the Lid Off Canada's Long Term Care Crisis

"...Sylvia Lyon had her own list of issues with her mother's case before the pandemic unit, and had filed complaints against the centre. But reading the military's account of what their members found in the home where her mother lived for 7 years left her thunderstruck - and feeling somewhat guilty. 'I feel terrible now,' she said. ' I think even though my mum's issues were dealt with, I should have been more of an advocate,' except I had other things to deal with...And I feel very defensive about it and think, 'Oh my god, how could I have placed my mother in a place like that?"

Notice how all political actors involved effectively,  perhaps tacitly agreed, not to rock the boat by exposing the LTC status quo. The CF were not part of this conspiracy and so seeing the appalling conditions decided correctly to 'rip the lid off' this long hidden in plain view crisis.

Companies Managing Troubled Ontario Long-Term Care Homes Run Dozens More, Make Millions in Profits

"Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday the province would be stepping up inspections at long-term care homes across the province..."


Singh Wants Ottawa To Send Military Allegations of Nursing Home Neglect To RCMP

Investigate the political actors too, over successive administrations - what they knew and when they knew it. Only a national public inquiry will do. Not a politico-friendly cover-up job such as Canada regularly has, not the Doug Ford  fox-henhouse friendly 'commission' process proposed by Ford himself.

For a National Inquiry into Elder Care!

[email protected]


Unforgivably Cruel: Swedish Directives on How to Treat COVID-19 Elderly Have Caused Massive Death Toll

"Sweden's lack of a coherent strategy on treating coronavirus has caused needless suffering among old people, and the media seems unwilling to expose the failures. Horror stories have played out across the country..."


Below is a closer look at the companies behind the five long term care homes whose horrendous conditions were referred to in the military report on long term care homes. This is proof that all these private care homes and others across Canada need to be turned over to the public sector with high standards of care and wages ensured. 

New data from the Ontario Health Coalition shows 1,629 residents have died at long-term care and retirement residences and 10 staff have died as of May 19. ...

Altamont Care Community, located in Scarborough, where 52 people have died from COVID-19, is owned by Sienna Senior Living, among the largest for-profit, long-term care providers in Canada.

The company owns 37 long-term care facilities and another 27 retirement residences in Ontario. It owns another 19 long-term care and retirement residences in British Columbia.

Sienna Living made a $7.5-million profit in 2019, down from a $21.8-million profit in 2017, according to the company’s financial records. ...

In a military report, Brig. Gen. Conrad Mialkowski alleged most residents at Altamont were not getting three meals a day due to “significant staffing issues” and that there was “poor nutritional status due to underfeeding.” ...

Military personnel also reported that residents had pressure ulcers due to prolonged bed rest, in some cases for weeks.

“No evidence of residents being moved to wheelchair for parts of day, repositioned in bed, or washed properly,” the report read.

The company declined to answer questions about its financial reports but said it was working to make sure the issues identified by the Canadian Forces “are all dealt with immediately and permanently.”

“To deliver the level of care that our seniors deserve, the staffing challenges we face in the long-term care sector must be addressed,” the company said in a statement. “We are committed to working with the government, and our health system partners, to solve this urgent issue. ...

Orchard Villa, a 308-bed facility in Pickering, is owned by Southbridge Care Homes and has been clobbered by the pandemic, with 77 deaths and at least 96 staff and 225 residents testing positive for novel coronavirus. ...

Families have called for a police investigation into Orchard Villa, and have alleged neglect, malnourishment and failure to adhere to infection prevention protocols.

Southbridge owns 37 long-term care homes across the province, including Country Village Homes near Windsor, where there have been 18 deaths. Southbridge is a limited partnership and doesn’t disclose its financial reports.

Orchard Villa is managed by Extendicare, which owns or runs more than 110 homes and retirement residences across the country. ...

According to Extendicare’s financial reports, the company reported a profit of $28.6 million on revenue of $1.13 billion in 2019, compared with a profit of $31.7 million on revenue of $1.12 billion the year before. ...

Southbridge and Extendicare did not respond to requests for comment.

A $40-million proposed class-action suit was filed against Orchard Villa this week alleging negligence. The home has not yet responded to the civil action, filed in the Ontario court. ...

North York’s Hawthorne Place Care Centre, the scene of 46 deaths, and Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke, where 42 people died, are operated by Rykka Care Centres, an operating partner of Responsive Management Inc., based in Markham, Ont. ...

The company is privately held doesn’t publicly report its financial returns.

The company also runs Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville, which has recorded 27 deaths so far.

At Hawthorne nursing home, the military alleged numerous instances of apparent patient neglect and that “little to no disinfection” had been conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAF members noted an infestation of ants and cockroaches and that some staff “delayed changing soiled residents leading to skin breakdown.” Workers were also “afraid for their jobs” and there was not enough personal protective equipment to keep staff safe, the report said.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..the seniors complex i live in has 3 blds. one of them a nursing home. the nursing home part of this complex (red roof) has started receiving visitors in the courtyard. social distancing is still enforced. they have a table set up with a beach umbrella. and a staff that provides beverages. i managed to talk to that staff and according to him there are no covid cases in the nursing home. very good to hear after all those horror stories coming out. very good to know there are good day i may be in there.


Military Must Test More Soldiers Deployed to Long Term Homes: Health Expert

"It all amounts to a patchwork policy that fails to recognize the extraordinary uncertainty surrounding the transmission of COVID-19, Mario Possamai, a former senior-adviser to the Ont govt's SARS Commission told CBC News. 'One of the surprising characteristics of COVID-19 is the importance of asymptomatic transmission..."


RNAO: Long Term Care Systemic Failings

Two decades of staffing failures and funding recommendations...


"My sister wanted to 'suit-up' to take my 102 yr old dad for a wheel-chair walk outside around retirement residence and answer remains 'no.' Meanwhile my dad cries because he can't really speak with us without a window barrier."

"Goddamnit Doug Ford, enough! TEST EVERYONE in care homes for COVID regularly, so these elders you nearly killed can now see their loved ones and have a life. Don't even pretend scientists like me haven't told you this."

[email protected]


Burnt-Out Health-Care Workers Warn of Mass Exodus With No End in Sight

"About 1,300 workers in health-care related fields were conscripted to work in long-term care homes. Some are burning out..."


Military Deployed To Another Long-Term Care Home Ravaged By COVID-19

"Despite receiving hospital support, Woodbridge Vista Care Community has been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19. Since an outbreak was declared at the facility, in early May, 102 residents have contracted the virus. Of these cases 22 have died. In addition 40 staff members have tested positive. Rosanna Manieri, whose dad lives at the home said the only way to improve the situation in long-term care facilities is for the government to take over and end for-profit nursing homes. 'This should not be going on anymore. People should be getting the proper care..."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

“We need a public, not-for-profit home care system”

Ontario’s new home and community care legislation will likely become law by the end of the month with virtually no public consultation, even as it impacts over 700,000 annual care recipients who require personal support services, nursing care, physiotherapy and other services.

Instead of addressing the myriad problems that have plagued the system for decades, Bill 175, Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act 2020, will further move away from accountability, democracy and equity, for clients, family members and workers alike. 

I spoke with Natalie Mehra, the executive director of the advocacy group Ontario Health Coalition for her thoughts on the new legislation, the history of home care in Ontario, and the solutions we need.


Reforms long overdue

The Health Coalition played a major role in influencing policy when the NDP government undertook home care reform in the early 1990s. In 1994, the NDP legislated a public, not-for-profit system that had minimal provisions for contracting out. 

“The Health Coalition was instrumental in creating that model and building a consensus around the approach,” Mehra says. “It was adopted by the NDP and it took a long time and a lot of consultation to come to that.”

However, the NDP plan was never implemented and then the Mike Harris Progressive Conservatives restructured the sector in the interests of health care businesses who continue to profit to this day. At the same time, the budget cuts of the Harris government sent the entire system into a shock from which it has never recovered.