Carol Hughes: It’s Well Past Time to Act on Long-term Care Homes

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Extendicare Kapuskasing

Ottawa – Covid-19 outbreaks in Long Term Care (LTC) homes in Kapuskasing and Hearst are a heartbreaking reminder that the north is not impervious to pandemic, according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.

“I’m devastated to learn of the recent deaths at Extendicare Kapuskasing,” said Hughes. “I extend my condolences to the families and loved ones of these individuals.”

Hughes notes the sense that the pandemic was more of a concern for other places has been proven wrong and says there was little done to shore up LTCs since the first wave showed how vulnerable congregate living settings are to the virus.

“I feel for the health care professionals and staff in these homes who work so hard to keep residents safe and my heart goes out to the residents and families,” said Hughes. “Despite the terrible experience in these settings during the first wave, little was done to shore up LTCs for the second wave that we knew was coming.”

Hughes thinks the NDP proposal to impose national standards on LTC homes is likely the quickest way to ensure residents are protected.

“There are many suggestions on the table to address the deficiencies in some homes, but national standards would help set a base line for care,” said Hughes. “People trust that when their loved ones must move to LTC homes they will be in a safe environment. It is sad to see those hopes and the efforts of many professionals who work in these places undermined by government inaction to a well understood problem.”

Hughes also believes that delays with Canada’s vaccine deliveries is contributing to the problem.

“Last week Canada received no shipments from Pfizer and future shipments have been reduced,” said Hughes. “Now, Moderna is cutting back their deliveries to Canada. We are truly paying the price for losing the ability to produce vaccines in Canada. Worse, we didn’t even negotiate the ability to do so if we wanted to build a production line.”

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Carol Hughes MP
Carol is a three-term MP who has worked hard for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing since being elected in 2008. In addition to her role as MP, Carol serves as Assistant Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole in Canada’s 42nd Parliament. A tireless advocate for the communities she serves, Carol was a leading figure in the fight to preserve ten federal constituencies for Northern Ontario. She has been a prominent spokesperson for passenger rail service, preserving postal service outlets, and good jobs in the region. Carol has worked with First Nations on local and national issues and served as the New Democrat critic for First Nations Health prior to assuming the responsibilities of Assistant Deputy Speaker. With decades of labour experience, Carol understands the priorities of hardworking families. She has introduced legislation to expand access to Employment Insurance benefits and to require mandatory reporting of workplace accidents and occupational diseases. She has also worked with veterans on legislation that will create a Defence of Canada Medal to honour those who served domestically to protect Canada during the Cold War. Committed to serving all her constituents, Carol maintains full constituency offices in both Kapuskasing and Elliot Lake. She also holds regular clinics in communities throughout the riding. Before entering politics, Carol was a regional representative for the Canadian Labour Congress. Earlier, she worked for Probation and Parole Services in Elliot Lake and Youth Justice Services in Sudbury. A long-time community volunteer and activist, Carol lived in Elliot Lake for nearly three decades with her husband Kieth. And as a proud mother and grandmother, Carol is committed to building a better Canada for future generations.

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