Social Justice and Democracy

Canadians can’t afford for-profit long-term care

May 19, 2022

Bruske: It’s time to get the profit out of care

OTTAWA –– A new report shows billions of dollars in public funds for long-term care have been diverted from patient care into the pockets of shareholders. Canada’s unions call on the federal government to make long-term care part of Canada’s public health care system.

“This report is brutal evidence of higher death rates and lower levels of care at for‑profit long‑term care homes across Ontario,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Despite all this, Conservatives want more private care homes and privatized health care services. We can’t let that happen.”

Canadians for Tax Fairness released the report, Careless Profits, today. Their analysis shows that over the last decade $3.8 billion in public funds have been converted to profits instead of going to residents or staffing. They also estimate that 1,400 lives could have been saved during the pandemic if those funds had been spent on better care. 

For decades, Ontario’s long-term care sector has been weakened by chronic underfunding, severe staffing shortages and poor oversight. Staff at for-profit homes have been sounding the alarm for years, and they were proven right when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

As of May 18, 2022, Ontario accounted for one-third of all long‑term care resident deaths in Canada. Ontario has the highest proportion of for-profit long-term care homes in Canada.

“At the start of the pandemic 80 percent of deaths from COVID-19 were in long‑term care homes and still the focus was on profits, not patient care. It’s despicable,” said Bruske. “It’s time to eliminate for-profit care homes and focus on decent jobs in the industry as it becomes more and more important to our population.” 

Ontario’s government has announced funding for new long-term care beds. The majority of those will go to for-profit companies, including those with some of the worst track records.

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