Union issues response to new minimum hours of care legislation
Richmond Hill, Ontario — SEIU Healthcare, a union representing over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario and the largest union in the province’s long-term care sector, issued the following statement from union president Sharleen Stewart in response to Ontario’s newly introduced minimum hours of care legislation:
“Today, we learned that Minister Phillips is finally doing what Minister Fullerton refused to do for over two years and finally legislate a minimum of four hours of hands-on care per resident per day.
As we review details of the proposed legislation, we’re pleased Minister Phillips is taking this step. He has so far been open to discussion and we commit to working with him to get this policy right.
Absent in today’s announcement is any action to improve the abhorrent conditions of work that exist within the walls of Ontario’s long-term care homes. The time to stop protecting the greedy interests of the big nursing home chains, who simply want more discretionary spending, should have ended long ago.
Workers have been clear that they need full-time jobs with benefits and fair wages to support them in these skilled jobs. Because the conditions of work have never been worse, new trainees and hires are fleeing within days or weeks. This is the real obstacle to fixing long-term care.
It is inexcusable that families will have to wait four or five years to achieve better standards. Care can’t wait until 2025 for safe work and dignified long-term care.
SEIU Healthcare continues to call on Doug Ford’s government for action to deliver better healthcare jobs, including a universal minimum wage of at least $25 per hour for low-income workers like personal support workers (PSWs) and at least $35 per hour for registered practical nurses (RPNs), and to finally end the failed experiment of for-profit care.”
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. www.seiuhealthcare.ca