Seniors Calling. Ontario’s NDP leader Andrea Horwath reflects on Bill 188 & Long-term Care in province


A Private Members Bill, 188, known as the ‘Time to Care Act’ (Long-Term Care Homes Amendment, Minimum Standard of Daily Care), 2016, was introduced during the spring session of the Ontario Legislature by France Gelinas, MPP (NDP). Bill 188 has passed first reading.

france-gelinas-color1This Bill, introduced on April 20, 2016, would amend the ‘Long-Term Care Homes Act’ (2007) so that long-term care homes will have to provide each resident with at least four hours a day of hands-on nursing and personal support services averaged across the residents. The minimum hours may be increased by regulation.

Gélinas is the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for the riding of Nickel Belt and the NDP Critic for Health & Long Term Care, Francophone Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs.  She is a health care professional (physiotherapist) and community leader, and was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 2007.

Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath (MPP), shared reflections on Bill 188, as well as on the current state of long term care in Ontario with saultonline. We caught up with her during a recent visit to Sault Ste. Marie on Friday, January 5th, 2016.

“The level of care is not where it should be in long-term care.” said Andrea Horwath. “There isn’t enough hands-on care taking place. There are not enough staff to provide that kind of quality and dignity of care for daily living that our seniors deserve, and have earned.”

Horwath said that long term care in Ontario is a system that needs some work. “We see, in Ontario, more and more privatization of our home care and long term care facilities. It used to be that home care and long-term care was delivered largely by the not-for-profit and government sector. The system of long-term care has been completely turned on its head and is almost exclusively privatized in its delivery today; Home care and long term care are increasingly being placed in the hands of the for-profit sector.”

Horwath is concerned about awareness on the part of Ontario citizens as to how much privatization has already taken place.

“The front line workers work hard and have a real commitment to what they are doing. But what we see is the inability of these workers to keep up with providing the care they want to because they have so few colleagues working alongside them. This is leaving a lot of folks in long term care more vulnerable. Because there are so few resources in long term care, and because it is being operated in a for-profit motive, we see people deteriorating, I believe, faster than they should be. They (residents in care) don’t have the hands-on therapy they need; The physio, occupational, and cognitive work that they need to help them maintain their capacities.”

Horwath believes that transparency is essential to be able to hold  corporations accountable for delivery of home and elder care.

“What’s the purpose of long term care?  Is it for someone to earn a profit?” she queried.

“Corporations cannot operate in the shadows, if they’re operating because of public money being provided to them to take care of our loved ones.”

“This government (Liberal) has allowed our health care and long term care systems to fray. We need a minimum standard of hands-on care in our long-term care homes. When we’re dealing with the most vulnerable people in our society, there is a lot of trust and important responsibility given to these homes. To have a for-profit motive doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It should be about providing quality care, not about shareholder’s return on investment. This is someone’s home.”


Bill 188                                                       2016

An Act to amend the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 to establish a minimum standard of daily care.

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

1.  Subsection 6 (2) of the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 is repealed and the following substituted:

Based on assessment of resident

(2)  The licensee shall ensure that the care set out in the plan of care is based on an assessment of the resident, the needs and preferences of that resident and takes into account the licensee’s duty to comply with subsection 8 (5).

2.  Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Minimum standard of daily care

(5)  Every licensee of a long-term care home shall ensure that the average number of combined hours of nursing services and personal support services offered at the home each day is at least four hours per resident, or if a higher minimum average is prescribed, the prescribed amount.

Same, calculation

(6)  For the purposes of this section, the average number of hours of nursing services and personal support services is calculated as prescribed by the regulations and does not include hours paid in respect to vacation, statutory holidays, leaves of absence, sick time or training time or for other purposes which do not involve direct patient care.

3.  Subsection 38 (2) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(g.1) prescribing a higher minimum average number of combined hours of nursing services and personal support services for the purposes of subsection 8 (5);


4.  This Act comes into force six months after the day it receives Royal Assent.

5.  The short title of this Act is the Time to Care Act (Long-Term Care Homes Amendment, Minimum Standard of Daily Care), 2016.

Bill 188 can be found here.

The Ontario Federation of Labour and other organizations are encouraging Ontario residents to support Bill 188 through grassroots democratic action, like letter writing.

Excerpt from letter posted to Ontario Federation of Labour website, calling on citizens to voice their concerns through signature to letter, and forwarding to local MPP’s found here:

‘Under the current circumstances, residents spend hours alone waiting for their daily needs to be met, often sitting in their own unchanged clothing as workers run off their feet trying to do the best they can with the resources they have. More often than not, those resources are completely inadequate. This is not an acceptable situation for our loved ones and family members who in many cases are dying without their dignity.

This issue is very important to me and my family and I hope you will support this important Bill that will provide nursing home residents with the care and respect that they deserve.’


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