February 22nd, 2021

373 PSWs is a drop in the ocean that will not give residents the care they deserve

NDP says we need at least 10,000 more in our long-term care homes

QUEEN’S PARK – The Official Opposition NDP says the Ford government’s plans to train just 373 new PSWs for the province’s long-term care homes is totally inadequate. It won't provide residents with the support they need to stay safe, nor will it provide older adults with the level of care that they deserve. Instead, by starving an already under-funded system of trained professionals, the Ford government will open the door to privatization as a solution to the problem they have created.

“Our long-term care homes remain chronically-understaffed leaving our parents and grandparents more vulnerable during the pandemic that’s taken the lives of over 3,800 residents,” said Sara Singh, NDP deputy leader and long-term care critic.

“The Ford government refused to spend the money to recruit more PSWs over the summer, while British Columbia spent $1.6 billion to hire and train 7,000 health care workers, and Quebec hired and trained 10,000 workers for long-term care homes. Our long-term care homes were left dramatically understaffed, and we’ve now seen more lives lost in the second wave than we did in the first.”

NDP critic for Colleges and Universities, Laura Mae Lindo, says publicly-funded colleges could have been doing the work for the past 12 months to train the thousands of new PSWs we urgently need.

“Today we were told the Ford government is training a maximum of just 373 new PSWs, with no timelines or deadlines. This a drop in the ocean and is totally inadequate. And it’s all because Ford doesn’t want to solve the problem he has created. Instead, he wants to use his very own lack of investment as a rationale to open the door wide open for private colleges to save the day," said Lindo.

"Doug Ford doesn’t want to invest in Ontario’s post-secondary institutions." said Lindo. "Instead we have seen cuts to post-secondary sector to the tune of $700 million before the pandemic. We've seen disastrous cuts to OSAP and mental health supports, and I have heard from thousands of people across Ontario that the Ford government's inaction to support Laurentian is just another design in their pathway to privatize our publicly funded post-secondary sector."

"The Ford government message is consistent: they don't want to invest in post-secondary education, even during a pandemic, when it's a matter of life and death."