Pandemic highlights need for overhaul of B.C.’s senior care model, left-leaning think tank says

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – It’s time for a major rethink of how we handle caring for seniors in B.C., according to a left-leaning think tank.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says COVID-19 and dozens in senior homes dying after care centre outbreaks have made it tragically clear that what we are doing is not working.

The CCPA is banging the drum it’s been banging for years: working conditions are declining and putting public money into private care centres isn’t the answer.

“This reliance on contracting for-profit companies hasn’t given us the beds and the services that we need to actually meet the needs of our growing population of seniors,” CCPA research associate Andrew Longhurst said. “COVID has really made it abundantly clear the vulnerabilities in the system as it has evolved.”

Due to the weakness in the system, he said, Longhurst told NEWS 1130 the B.C. government needs to look at halting public funds to private providers.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, but I think we need to start putting our minds toward what does that transition look like? And how do we ensure that we have the capacity in the public and non-profit sector to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of all British Columbians?”

At the very least, he added there needs to be public accounting of how private companies spend money from the province.

The head of the BC Care Providers Association admits there are issues with seniors care in the province, but said they relate to staffing shortages and failing infrastructure, not who owns the facility.

CEO Daniel Fontaine noted other provinces, like Quebec and Ontario, are seeing staggering illnesses and lives lost and they don’t contract out care.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is failing its parents and grandparents. He said the federal government will need to look at how to care for its vulnerable people going forward.

Last week, Trudeau promised the government would top up the wages of frontline workers in seniors facilities, but said it would have to be done in consultation with the provinces. The issue was discussed during last week’s first ministers’ conference call but there was no resolution since not all provinces are experiencing the same dire problems that are plaguing long-term care homes in Quebec and Ontario.

Since then, the situation has deteriorated, with the two largest provinces calling on the federal government to send in the military to help care for people in long-term care facilities.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today