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nursing covidImagine if you can – if you dare – that, if you don’t already have a loved one in a private long-term care home with a COVID outbreak, imagine that you do. You’re worried, frantic even. You want to get them out of there. But you can’t because the home has been locked down as the more deadly variants circulate.

Then you learn that the home is one of a number of homes owned by a corporation that has delivered millions of dollars to its investors but has failed to deliver the care they boast about in their brochures. Anger peppers your concern.

Then you learn that the corporation that owns the home has racked up a whole string of violations of government regulations over the years, some for the same infractions for problems the military found in homes – perhaps your home. Now you’re starting to get really angry.

Then you learn that the Ontario government, unlike other provinces, decided to make millions available to long-term care homes for renovating spaces and purchasing beds, but not for the people needed to handle infections. You wonder if skimping on staff was how they were able pay out dividends to shareholders during a pandemic. You begin thinking of taking the home to court.

Then you discover that Mr Ford has made that more difficult by requiring lawsuits demonstrate a much higher bar of “willful negligence.” So you think of suing the government.

Then you learn that the Tories passed a law back in 2019 (Crown Liability and Proceedings Act) that protects them from lawsuits, like the one you’re contemplating, aimed at how the government implements its policies.

Now, imagine if you can – if you dare – that you are a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit of an Ontario hospital. You’re seeing much younger patients being intubated because their lungs have been devastated by COVID’s new variants. Sometimes whole families are coming in at once, but you have to split them up to different hospitals because you’re running out of room.

You know that this was predicted weeks ago from the experience in other countries, but the government lifted its lockdowns anyway. And even now it has allowed malls and other gathering places to remain open.

You know that Ontario has the vaccines – some 40% of delivered doses sit in freezers. If people could take time off work to get vaccinated to make sure they don’t infect their workmates, your patient load would lessen.

You know it costs over $3500 a day to treat someone in the ICU, but a whole lot less to pay them sick leave. But you also know the Conservatives have refused to either add to the federal sick leave plan or to legislate companies to provide it for workers.

You know that the Tories have earmarked millions for more hospital beds, but not for staff, even though many of your colleagues are off sick themselves or have quit in frustration and from the stress of seeing so much death.

You’ve been called a hero by this government, but you know the wage top-up for heroes won’t last much longer and that you can expect a more permanent hourly raise of … one dollar.

David McLaren
Neyaashiinigmiing, ON

For-profit long-term-care homes once again seeing significantly worse outcomes in Ontario’s second wave, Star analysis finds 13 November 2020

Even ‘when things were good’ families were raising red flags. Inside four years’ worth of violations at Tendercare long-term-care home in Scarborough 8 February 2021

Emergency unpreparedness: How ON government failures shaped Ontario’s COVID-19 response 25 November 2020

‘I really am totally speechless’: With about half of Ontario LTC residents still not vaccinated, experts question province’s priorities 20 January 2021

Big for-profit long-term-care companies paid out more than $170 million to investors through Ontario’s deadly first wave 26 Dec20

FP Investigation: As CEWS (Cdn Emerg Wage Sub) flowed in, dividends flowed out & some bought back shares 7 Dec 20
https://financialpost.com/investing/fp-investigation-as-cews-flowed-in-dividends-flowed-out (includes list of co’s)

The numbers are in: Canada’s (Con & Lib) COVID-fighting efforts are among world’s worst 28 January 2021

Company chosen by Ontario to manage long-term-care home with 27 COVID deaths also runs facilities cited for multiple rule violations 17 Dec 20

Doug Ford’s government is making it almost impossible to sue long-term-care homes 22 October 2020

Ontario sitting on billions in COVID-19 relief money for essential workers, health care, analysis shows 26 Jan 2021

‘Please don’t let your guard down.’ Inside the third wave and why variants have changed everything, in the words of 7 front-line health workers 4 April 2021

We knew the third wave was coming — and we walked right into it 1 April 2021

Ford Maintains Paid Sick Days Aren't Necessary In Ontario As COVID-19 Crisis Intensifies 12 January 2021

In Doug Ford’s Ontario, COVID-19 lockdowns have become meaningless ANDRÉ PICARD 1 April 2021

Ontarians Suffered 'Agonizing' Weeks While Nursing Home Group Hired Lobbyists 2 December 2020

Ontario loses bid to quash $30-million prison segregation ruling – can’t claim to be immune from lawsuits 31 March 2021

Thousands of workers got COVID-19 on the job. But the Ministry of Labour has fined just one employer 19 December 20


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