OTTAWA – The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is calling for major changes to Canada’s long-term care sector, including regulating long-term care under the Canada Health Act. The CLC is largest labour organization in Canada, bringing together dozens of national and international unions representing more than three million workers across the country.
“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.
The CLC’s report, Lessons from a Pandemic: Union Recommendations for Transforming Long-Term Care in Canada is available for download here.