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B.C. Greens: It's time to shift away from private contracting of long-term care

October 01, 2020

Saanich B.C. – B.C. Green Leader Sonia Furstenau today announced the BC Greens commitment to begin to shift away from a for-profit care model into one that supports and prioritizes the expansion of a high-quality and accessible public seniors care system in B.C. She was joined in Saanich by Adam Olsen, BC Green Candidate for Saanich North and Islands for the announcement.

“COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the state of seniors care in our province,” said Furstenau. “Our seniors, their health and their care are not a commodity for investors to profit from - they are our parents, our grandparents. It's time we shift our tax dollars away from for-profit long-term care in BC.”

Earlier this year, B.C.’s Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie released her report A Billion Reasons to Care, which documented concerning differences within contracted care in BC. Despite receiving on average the same level of public funding, for-profit care homes failed to deliver over 207,000 direct care hours, while reporting 12 times the profits, compared to non-profits.

 “The discrepancy in care between for-profit and not-for-profit contracted care is unacceptable. Large profit-motivated contractors with little or no connection to our communities simply do not provide the same quality of care as public and local non-profit providers. Caring for our elders should be a community responsibility, not a money-making opportunity for foreign-owned companies. ” 

“While we helped to drive some positive steps in the minority government, we have yet to see the courage necessary from either the BC NDP or the BC Liberals to change a system that isn’t working. We need to think bigger, and take the steps that our seniors need and deserve.”

The commitment to end the public funding of for-profit care was part of a series of commitments made by the BC Green Leader concerning seniors care in BC, including:

  1. Begin to shift the sector away from a for-profit private company model to a mix of public, non-for-profit, community-based services and co-ops;
  2. Ensuring that public funding is only being used to support direct care for seniors, and enhancing accountability by requiring annual inspections, financial statements and audited expense reports;
  3. Establishing caregivers as a recognized healthcare profession with the salary they deserve;
  4. Giving the Office of the Seniors Advocate more independence and an expanded mandate.

“Too often we speak about ‘beds’ in care homes, rather than focussing on the people who live there and that their needs go far beyond adequate medical care. As another generation enters retirement, more British Columbians than ever before will be counting on our long-term care system. We owe it to them to establish a system that treats them as people, providing them with quality care and dignity, and surrounding them with well-resourced and respected health care professionals."

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