The Long Term Care Home Situation is a Turning Point.

For sometime, Ontarians had heard the cries for help from the long term care home sector. Things were bad. Help was needed. Government’s responses to the cries were usually yes of course, then a shrug of their shoulders or blatant ignoring of the problem. Then yesterday’s report from the Canadian Military landed like a bomb. The facts were our long term care homes are more akin to a horror movie than we wanted to believe.

Politicians were quick to take to the mic to express their shock and dismay. To exacerbate the seriousness of the report, the Prime Minister decided to chime in on provincial jurisdiction to voice his opinion. Something not common in our confederation. However all eyes right now are fixated on Ontario Premier Doug Ford and what his next steps are.

For years the Ontario government has curtailed comprehensive inspections for long term care homes. Only a handful of homes received inspection in the last year. To feign shock and dismay right now is dishonest and insulting to the families who right now have a loved one living in a LTC facility. Premier Ford is at a crossroad right now. For the previous few months his government has been riding high in the polls for the first time since they were elected two years ago. His handling of the pandemic response so far has been admired by his staunchest of opponents. The people of Ontario look to be ready to give his government another mandate in the next election. However, over the next few weeks all of this could change.

The Ontario PC response to the long term effects of COVID-19 is starting to falter. The long term care home situation is not a COVID-19 result. It only exacerbated issues that were already there. Small businesses are asking for rent protection to help keep them afloat through the pandemic. Parents are concerned what schools will look like to send their children back in September. Testing remains an issue to be tackled so we can get on top of our numbers and ensure we are flattening our curve. These are not small tasks to check off a to-do list.

A comprehensive and well thought out solution to the above issues is required. There is no conservative way out of this mess. Drastic government intervention will be needed to fix the long term care home situation. Better oversight, subsidies, or a nationalization of the system will need to be contemplated. The previous policy of less is more is over with. Ontarians won’t accept that.

The time has come for the rhetoric to end. Concrete and decisive action is going to be required going forward from the Ford government. The people of Ontario need to see it’s government put actions to it’s words. Calling this situation shocking and unacceptable is true. But not enough from the leader of the province. Ontarians need changes now. Now isn’t the time for the Ford government to fall back into old habits. It’s what got us into this mess to begin with. The real test of leadership for Doug Ford is now. What his government does over the next few days and weeks to change the direction of this province will determine his legacy. Otherwise, all the goodwill and respect he’s earned over the last few months will be for naught.


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