RICHMOND HILL, ON, May 26 – The following is a statement from Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario:
“We welcome the report from our Canadian Armed Forces to blow the whistle on the disturbing conditions in Ontario’s long-term care homes. Our members on the frontline appreciate their ongoing support.
Our union and our frontline members have been ringing the alarm bells throughout this entire crisis. Unfortunately, we have had to fight the provincial government every step of the way to ensure long-term care companies were keeping workers and residents safe.
We know that Minister Fullerton’s decision on March 5th to eliminate regulations that required both background checks for new hires and the strict adherence to resident care plans was a recipe for disaster. These changes remain in effect to this date.
On April 20th, we filed an application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to require the government to send inspectors into long-term care – on site, not via telephone.
On May 5th, we called for an urgent public inquiry and criminal investigations into COVID-19 related deaths in long-term care as a result of the stories we had heard from workers on the frontline.
Instead of helping, Doug Ford has made long-term care worse for workers and residents.
Doug Ford has refused to take action on increased staff-to-resident ratios.
Doug Ford has capped the wages of the lowest-paid workers in long-term care.
Doug Ford eliminated paid sick days for vulnerable essential workers.
Doug Ford has limited inspections in long-term care.
These decisions came from his desk.
The buck stops with him.
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