NDP MPP Catherine Fife (Waterloo) met with seniors who have experienced spousal separation in Ontario’s Long-Term Care system today, pushing to bring the Till Death Do Us Part Act back to Queen’s Park committee for discussion and debate.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear the stories of older adult couples who are forced to live apart,” said Fife. “I invited all PC MPPs in Waterloo Region to today’s meeting to discuss solutions on this incredibly important legislation. Unfortunately, none of them even showed up. I urge them to take the time to speak to seniors like Jim McLeod, who will have been living apart from his wife Joan for 6 years this September. It’s impossible to hear his story and not care deeply about finding solutions to this heartbreaking situation that many seniors face in our Long-Term Care system.”
Fife’s Till Death Do Us Part legislation passed second reading in the Ontario Legislature in November 2022, and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy for discussion and testimony. It has been stalled there for almost 250 days by the Ford Conservatives. The bill would ensure that senior couples have the right to remain together in Long-Term Care homes and not endure devastating separations.
“This bill passed second reading nearly 8 months ago,” said Fife. “We need the Ford Conservatives to call this bill forward in committee, so we can get to work on finding compassionate solutions to provide seniors with the right to live together as they age. In 2021, Nova Scotia successfully passed similar legislation – it’s long overdue for Ontario to do the same.”
Fife has been a committed champion of the Till Death Do Us Part Act legislation since 2019 and will continue to advocate until this important bill passes into law.
Madison Robertson, Queen’s University, PhD student: “In the current system, older adults don’t have a say in staying with their spouse. Loneliness and depression are already major concerns for long-term care residents. Mental health challenges are amplified when these residents are separated from their spouses. This is why the Till Death Do Us Part Act put forward by MPP Catherine Fife is so important.”
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