The panel, “Care in the time of corona: the neoliberal care home,” that occurred on April 22 is part of a series of research-guided discussions of public issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
These panel discussions provide critical insight to guide activism and public policy towards solutions for problems we believe were created by faulty institutions and thinking, which currently dominate public life.
Watch the panel here –
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen the ways that the coronavirus pandemic and our social response to it have exacerbated a multitude of overlapping inequalities related to age, gender, class, ability, migration status, race and others.
In Canada and beyond, we have borne witness to the effects of profit-oriented, neoliberal policies that have guided long-term care and nursing home care.
These pressures have disadvantaged not only residents and family but also those who care for them: precarious, low-paid workers in the care sector who often work in unsafe conditions.
As we can see from the tragic situations now playing out across the country’s long-term care homes, Canada needs new policies and new ideas that can supplant neoliberal ones.
With this in mind, the Canada Research Chairs in Global and International Studies and Physical Culture and Social Life at St. Thomas University, partnered with the NB Media Co-op to organize this panel.
We invited three panelists to help us think through some of the problems we face, and some hopeful and promising practices that might guide us in the future.
Albert Banerjee is the NBHRF Health Research Chair in Community Health and Aging, a Research Fellow at the Trent Centre for Aging Studies, and an Assistant Professor in Gerontology at St. Thomas University. Albert discussed structural violence and lessons learned from a recently completed 10-year study of promising practices in nursing homes in Nordic European countries, Canada as well as provinces in Canada.
Joan McFarland, a recently-retired professor of economics at St. Thomas University, is researching the privatization of nursing homes in New Brunswick. She is long-time volunteer with the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity. McFarland discussed her research on the phases of privatization of nursing homes in New Brunswick and its impact on seniors.
Mary-Dan Johnston is a Halifax-based writer and researcher, currently on a temporary assignment as the Atlantic Research Representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. CUPE represents some 700,000 public sector workers across Canada, including thousands of long-term care workers. Mary-Dan is a Research Associate of Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) Nova Scotia, and the former Atlantic Coordinator of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women’s Changing Public Services project. Johnston discussed the political economy and gendered nature of care work and her experiences advocating for care workers in Nova Scotia.
Kristi Allain, Canada Research Chair in Physical Culture and Social Life at St. Thomas University, introduced the panel.
Check out more news related to care work in New Brunswick and Canada in a time of COVID-19 here: