LETTER TO EDITOR: There are many problems in caring for seniors in nursing homes that are directly caused by greed by the owners and/or shareholders.
For-profit nursing homes have statistically fewer staff-to-resident ratios.
Why is this? This is because hiring part-time staff saves the owners paying benefits.
Three part-timers are cheaper than one full time staff person.
Only the government can fix this; and the fix is easy.
Number one is to set the ratio of staff-to-residents.
Secondly is preventing all employers from hiring part-time — if in reality they have the hours to hire a full-timers.
This would give a large number of part-timers a stable income with benefits.
And cost the government nothing except the ire of greedy people.
It would affect a big change in our society, as grocery stores, hardware stores, chain stores — all large employers — would have to pony up and treat staff as everyone deserves to be treated.
And, yes, we would have to pay a bit more for our purchases.
We could be proud to live in a country that respects honest work and rewards it with a liveable income.
My experience is with Muskoka Shores (owned by Sienna Living, which is on the stock market as is Chartwell) where my family members lived before dying.
I found that the staff who live in Gravenhurst and work with the residents are excellent and do a marvellous job.
However, in recent years staff was being brought in from as far away as Toronto for one or two shifts.
These staff slept in their vehicles as that was all they could afford.
Then they would be sent to some other care facility.
How can this be happening in Canada?
These staff were providing as good a service as they could under the circumstances.
There has to be a change in how long-term care is provided.
All staff working in long-term care should be earning $20 an hour, at minimum.
Their work is always essential.
There should only be part time work for those who request to work part-time in these facilities.
Long-term care must not be provided as a for-profit service.
It must not be at the mercy of the stock market. It must not be providing profit for share holders or owners.
It must be provided by not-for-profit companies.
Provincial and federal governments need to step up and fix the labour law first then get on with doing inspections without notice.
Then encourage not-for-profit companies into this industry.