CAW Supports Joint Call for Improved Staffing in Long-term Care Homes

July 2, 2013, 12:30 PM EST

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The CAW has joined with a coalition of unions, long-term care advocates, academics and for-profit care providers, in calling on the Ontario government to increase staffing levels at long-term care homes across the province.

In its first action, the coalition called Staffing Alliance for Every Resident (SAFER), sent a joint letter on June 24 to Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews, requesting a meeting to discuss the current chronic under-staffing of long-term care homes.

"Many sources now indicate that the number of people living in long-term care who experience some form of mental health illness or dementia is approximately fifty per cent," the letter states. "Our current staffing levels have not kept pace with this increasing complexity and are not keeping residents and staff safe."

The letter, co-signed by the Ontario Personal Support Worker Association the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Extendicare Canada, and others, also recommends the government adopt staffing levels in line with an evidence-based minimum, measurable and enforceable standard, a campaign demand long sought out by the CAW, said Health Care Director Katha Fortier.

"In our view, a minimum, measurable and enforceable staffing standard is the floor for our ongoing campaign efforts," Fortier said. "We're very encouraged to see so many different stakeholders join in this call, including nursing home operators who have in the past fiercely resisted any move to impose measurable standards."

Thousands of CAW members have signed their name to the union's ongoing campaign for better care standards.  The union has criticized the provincial government for failing to live up to an important campaign promise in 2003, calling for "revolution in long term care."

"This joint letter provides an important lift to our campaign efforts," said Deb Tveit, Assistant to the CAW National President.  "Now we need the provincial government to step up to the plate and institute these long-overdue staffing improvements."

The CAW represents more than 26,000 health care workers across Canada.


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