Right when I hoped the cuts had ended, the Ford government has proven that all critical services are at risk of budget cuts with long-term care as its most recent victim.
Long-term-care facilities provide residents with much-needed support to manage daily routines, offer access to medical care and schedule activities to enrich their lives. They are responsible to ensure the safety of residents and offer peace of mind to family members. They are not simply brick and mortar — these are their homes.
The reality is that many of the residents living in long-term care are seniors. It is unthinkable to cut funding which will affect necessary services that are relied upon by some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Since 2015, our government has worked diligently to offer the following supports for seniors:
- Passed my motion “M-106 Seniors” in the House of Commons which calls for the development of a National Senior Strategy, the very first of its kind, triggering the creation of a Ministry dedicated to Seniors;
- Better home care and mental-health care with $11 billion in new targeted funding over the next 10 years;
- Support for caregivers with the new Caregiver Credit and Employment Insurance caregiver benefits;
- Increased the funding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program, a program that promotes social inclusion, volunteerism and engagement to $100 million over five years;
- Restored age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement from 67 to 65;
- Increased the Guaranteed Income Supplement top-up by up to $947, helping 900,000 vulnerable single seniors gain greater financial security;
- Expanded the Enabling Accessibility Fund with an investment of $77 million over ten years, starting in 2018–19 giving more Canadians with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in their communities.
The federal government remains committed to assuring our communities have the resources and tools to meet the needs prioritized by residents. These deeps cut from the province will add immense pressure on facilities in Nickel Belt and Greater Sudbury who have vocalized the need for more funding prior to these cuts.
Reducing funding to long-term care will create a ripple effect and negatively impact other essential services including ambulatory, hospitals and clinics who are already overburdened due to funding shortfalls. The needs simply won’t disappear, and we know as our population continues to age, we will rely on long-term care even more.
Cuts to long-term care will also equate to less funds available to hire more dedicated, hard-working staff to care of our loved ones. It is arduous but rewarding work and deserves commensurate compensation.
Less staff will cause further strain on current personnel putting not only the quality of residents’ care at risk but also their personal health and well being at risk.
I encourage organizations, families of those living in long-term care facilities or any concerned citizen for that matter to use their voice like I am to call out this injustice. We must have a united outlook for the future, one where everyone has the right to the services they need. Political stripes aside, it should remain a fundamental principal to guarantee our seniors and our most vulnerable the resources they need. We cannot afford to be silent and let this go unnoticed.
Member of Parliament, Nickel Belt