RICHMOND HILL, ON, May 28, 2020 – SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario, is demanding an end to long-term care shareholder dividends after the company revealed during today’s Annual General Meeting that it only spent $300,000 of its own money on COVID-19, while distributing over $10,000,000 to shareholders during the pandemic.
David Bacon, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, confirmed during the AGM that, “the [COVID-19] expense that we incurred was about $700,000 of incremental expenses, of which $400,000 were covered [in Ontario].”
When asked if a pandemic risk assessment was ever conducted after the SARS Commission Report of 2007, Michael Guerriere, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “the answer is, in summary, that all of our risk plans did not anticipate this kind of behaviour from an infectious agent.”
Finally, the company would not commit to cutting the 8% dividend after 80 people died in Extendicare facilities after contracting COVID-19. The safety of workers and the well-being of residents should come first, not the fiduciary responsibility to shareholders.
STATEMENT FROM SEIU HEALTHCARE PRESIDENT, SHARLEEN STEWART:
What I heard today from Extendicare was both alarming and an affirmation of a truly ugly long-term care system.
Residents are getting sick and dying. Workers are getting sick and dying. Enough is enough.
Corporate dividends from companies like Extendicare, Chartwell, and Sienna, can no longer be a part of the delivery of healthcare equation.
SEIU Healthcare will be calling on all governments to stop giving money to healthcare corporations that pay out rich dividends to private shareholders.
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