On Thursday, Doug Ford acknowledged for the first time that personal support workers (PSWs) in Ontario are overworked and underpaid — a problem that governments have caused, that everyone in Ontario has known about for ages, and that Ford could fix right now.
Despite Ford’s claims that he can’t take action now, he’s the only one that can mandate higher wages and minimum staffing levels in long-term care and home care.
“PSWs don’t need Ford feigning surprise at how hard they work,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “Staff are paid barely above minimum wage and they’re often stuck trying to put together part-time jobs without benefits at several homes just to make ends meet. This problem is particularly bad in for profit homes but we need to do better for all PSWs across the system because it hurts staff and seniors in nursing homes.
“The Conservatives are making things worse by following the lead of previous Liberal governments and turning even more long-term care and home care over to private, for-profit corporations, which cut corners to pocket more profits.
“Sympathy and praise doesn’t give seniors the care they need, and doesn’t help PSWs pay the bills.”
The NDP is calling for thousands of PSWs to be hired, for all PSWs to get an immediate pay hike, for PSW jobs to be full-time, and for a mandate requiring enough staff on every shift to guarantee four hours of hands-on support and care per resident per day. Horwath has also made it clear it’s time to get for-profit corporations out of long-term care.
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