November 29th, 2020

Singh calls for end to for-profit long-term care homes owned by government

By The Canadian Press on November 19, 2020.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. The federal NDP and union leaders are calling on Ottawa to put a stop to its role in for-profit long-term care homes, where deadly COVID-19 outbreaks are ramping up as the second wave takes hold. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and union officials are calling on Ottawa to put a stop to its role in for-profit long-term care homes, where deadly COVID-19 outbreaks are worsening as the second wave of the pandemic continues to rise.

Singh and two unions say the government must convert Revera, a company that runs more than 500 seniors’ residences in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom and which is owned by a federal Crown corporation that manages public-service pensions, from a for-profit corporation into a publicly managed operation.

Revera, the country’s second-largest for-profit long-term care company, confirms that 93 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus and 32 have died in an outbreak at just one Toronto facility over the past seven weeks.

Sharleen Stewart, who represents more than 60,000 Ontario health-care workers as president of the SEIU Healthcare union, says long-term care homes like Revera’s should be run like hospitals to make them accountable to seniors rather than shareholders.

Ontario is reporting three more outbreaks at long-term care homes in the past 24 hours, with the province stating this week that a spike in deaths related to the virus is largely tied to nursing homes.

Health Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette said questions about whether the Trudeau government would consider trying to end Revera’s for-profit model should be directed to the provinces, given health care’s largely provincial jurisdiction under the Constitution.

Asked about its handling of nursing-home outbreaks, the press secretary for Ontario’s long-term care minister said the province has invested more than $500 million in long-term care supports and that it needs more funding from Ottawa to address systemic issues.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2020.

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