Today, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) welcomes Jagmeet Singh’s announcement of the NDP’s Care Guarantee, applauding the urgency of his party’s response and its commitment to our nation’s seniors.
For years, Canada’s nurses have called for governments’ immediate attention to our long-term care system on the brink of collapse due to neglect and underinvestment.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, that catastrophic failure unfolded before the eyes of the nation.
Report after report has now shone a light on two populations that had long been invisible to both lawmakers and the public: seniors, and the workforce that cares for them – which is largely female, immigrant and racialized, and forced to contend with intolerable working conditions that threaten the safety of both residents and workers.
With today’s announcement, we are pleased to note the NDP’s commitment to eliminating private, for‑profit business from the long-term care system, and regulating long-term care and home care according to the principles of the Canada Health Act.
We also applaud New Democrats’ pledge to improve working conditions and provide fair training, resources and compensation for frontline workers in the long-term care sector.
These are important and necessary commitments that will address some of the most glaring problems. However, federal, provincial and territorial governments will have to go even further to fix the decades-long rot in long-term care.
On behalf of our close to 200,000 members, the CFNU urges governments and all political parties to build on the NDP’s pledges by implementing the recommendations of CFNU’s National Plan for Safe Seniors Care, which calls for a minimum nursing and personal care standard of 4.5 hours of direct care per resident each day to improve residents’ quality of life. This also includes a minimum of one registered nurse (RN) per shift (worked hours) and increased RN staffing as required by the complexity of the residents’ condition.
“Everyone deserves to age with dignity. As a nation, we have only just begun to grapple with the serious and persistent problems in our long-term care system, and we have far more work to do to fulfill our duty to the elders, who built the foundations of the Canada we enjoy today. Today’s announcement is a strong step in the right direction,” concluded CFNU President, Linda Silas.