An Ontario Liberal government would take a ‘home care first’ approach to senior care and aim to eliminate for-profit long-term care by 2028, Leader Steven Del Duca announced Tuesday. .
The pandemic has been a wake-up call that institutionalizing the elderly through long-term care was “one of the great mistakes of the 20th century,” Del Duca said.
“Does anyone watching today actually believe that old people want to be piled up like firewood in warehouses or institutions?” he said. “I don’t know. Old people I talk to don’t.”
Residents of long-term care facilities have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during the early waves. The military was called in to help at a few facilities and released a scathing report with details of residents suffering from insufficient nutrition or hydration.
Liberals promise Home Care Guarantee that would allow 400,000 more seniors to access home care over the next four years and increase total base funding for the system by $2 billion by 2026 through annual increases of 10%. They also promise to build 15,000 additional assisted living facilities over the next decade.
Liberals say they will stop renewing licenses for for-profit long-term care homes next year and start negotiating and funding the transfer of existing homes to non-profit entities and municipalities .
Del Duca wouldn’t disclose pricing, saying the party’s fully encrypted platform would be coming soon. In some cases, he said a Liberal government would immediately start conversations with for-profit operators whose current licenses are expiring soon, which could facilitate an “easier transition.”
Other cases may require the government to guarantee loan guarantees or outright purchases, Del Duca said.
“I understand it’s going to be complicated, but it has to be done and done in a way that’s real,” he said during his announcement at the home of two Toronto seniors.
“There will be a cost. There will definitely be an investment. But what’s the alternative? Is the alternative to stay here and tell Judy and Cliff and my parents we don’t care?”
New Democrats – who have also pledged to eliminate for-profit long-term care – said the Liberals had “broken” long-term care in the last 15 years in party power and that they would not wouldn’t fix them.
The NDP pledges, in its platform released Monday, to immediately stop renewing and issuing new for-profit licenses for long-term care and to start transferring care to public and nonprofit organizations. They would aim to build 50,000 new and modern beds.
New Democrats also promise to invest at least $1 billion over four years in home care and establish provincial standards for home and community care.
The Liberals’ goal is to build 30,000 new community long-term care spaces by 2028 and to redevelop and upgrade 28,000 existing spaces.
Liberals and New Democrats are committed to making new facilities more like homes.
The Progressive Conservative government recently announced it was on track to deliver on its 2018 election promise to build 30,000 net new long-term care beds by 2028, saying the province now has 31,705 new beds and 28,648 improved beds under development.
He also announced on Monday that he plans to invest an additional $1 billion over three years to expand home care.
The Liberal Seniors Platform also includes promises to expand and make permanent the Seniors’ Home Security Tax Credit and make the Ontario Caregiver Tax Credit refundable. , non-taxable and paid throughout the year.
Vanessa De Matteis, spokeswoman for Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra, said in a statement Tuesday that the Liberals’ record on long-term care was equivalent to building 611 beds in seven years.
“Our government is investing nearly $5 billion to hire more than 27,000 long-term care workers, increase the number of hours of direct care for each long-term care resident to an average of four hours per day, and maintain its commitment to build 30,000 net new beds by 2028 with 31,705 new beds and 28,648 upgraded beds under development,” she said in the statement.
“We’re fixing long-term care in Ontario and we’re getting there.”