Union welcomes the direction of today’s announcement but is concerned about the lack of action and information in the plan

Richmond Hill, Ontario — SEIU Healthcare represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario and is the province’s largest union in long-term care. The following is a statement from SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart:

“SEIU Healthcare welcomes the direction of today’s long-term care announcement but is concerned about the lack of urgency and information.

Families should not be waiting until 2025 to ensure their loved ones in long-term care receive the care they need.

In this moment of crisis, the challenges in long-term care are as much about retention as they are about recruitment. Today’s announcement leaves many questions unanswered about efforts to retain staff.

When will workers be provided with a full-time job and how will it be enforced? Will there be standardized pay across the sector and what is the living wage workers can expect to receive? Will for-profit operators be held accountable for failing to keep seniors and staff safe or will they in fact be rewarded with more money from changes to government contracts?

SEIU Healthcare is eager to inform those answers to end the exploitation of all healthcare workers.

Staffing levels are dangerously low and worse now than at any point in the pandemic. Taking immediate action today would bring critical relief to support the thousands of frontline healthcare workers who are increasingly relying on foodbanks and making the untenable choice between food or rent. We continue to call on Premier Ford’s government to immediately re-instate pandemic pay for all healthcare workers and finally adopt the precautioning principle which would recognise the potential for airborne spread of COVID-19.

SEIU Healthcare won’t stop fighting to keep workers safe and secure. While the pandemic rages on, there are steps the government can take today to give all members of the healthcare team greater economic security, as well as physical and emotional security.”