In 2018, Ontarians will have the opportunity to participate in two elections: A provincial election, on Thursday, June 7, 2018, and municipal elections scheduled for Monday, October 22, 2018.
This means Ontario’s senior citizens will have two opportunities to directly influence how our province and our municipalities are governed, and to advocate for policies and programmes in the interest of seniors.
Care Watch is a senior citizen-led organization that advocates for high quality, affordable, and equitable home care and community supports for Ontario’s elderly. We monitor provincial policy and give decision-makers analysis and feedback – from the consumer’s perspective – on how to achieve a home care system that supports dignified ageing.
Seniors need to learn about the positions taken by provincial parties and candidates who are seeking your votes. You are encouraged to ask questions at all-candidate meetings and when candidates come to your door during a canvass. It is an opportunity to make sure that the political candidates that want and need your vote in the upcoming elections are prepared to respond appropriately to the needs of senior citizens.
What we know so far…
Green Party of Ontario
- Increased funding for home and community care
- Implement more meaningful community programs to help seniors remain active citizens
- Investments to improve the availability of assisted living and transitional living for seniors who need more support
Liberal Party of Ontario
- Invest $822 million to bolster hospital care and infrastructure
- Spend $300 million over three years for registered nurses in every long-term care facility in Ontario and increase the number of hours each RN spends with patients by 2022
- Introduce a drug and dental program to cover 80 per cent of specific drugs and dental costs
- Expand OHIP+ program to cover drug costs to seniors 65 and over
Ontario New Democratic Party
- Home Care
- Increase home care funding by $300 million. Ensure consistent, reliable care throughout Ontario
- Eliminate wait lists for personal support services
- Remove arbitrary caps on care. Increase service hours
- Offer more respite care for family caregivers
- Move towards more public and not-for-profit delivery of home care, so that funding for home care
- Long-Term Care
- Create 40,000 more Long Term Care beds, including 15,000 new beds over the next five years
- Set standards to ensure each resident is offered a minimum of four hours of hands-on care per day
- Ensure more stable employment, better working conditions and higher wages for PSWs
- Allow seniors who own their home to defer property taxes until their house is sold … financed by the Province to avoid municipal property tax losses
- Invest $30 million in community care and open 35 new community health centres by 2025 … and ensure that on-going funding increases with inflation
- Extend public dental coverage to every senior without retiree benefits, and to every person on social assistance
- Introduce universal pharmacare for Ontarians by 2020
- Immediately increase hospital funding by 5.3% with new investment of $916 million
- Create 2,000 new hospital beds right now and invest $19 Billion over 10 years into hospital capital expansion
- Ensure that every hospital’s annual funding will be at or above inflation, take into account population growth, and include the unique needs of each community (like the ageing population)
- End arbitrary caps on surgeries to shorten wait times. End “hallway medicine”
- Stop further layoffs of nurses and other front line health care workers
Ontario PC Party
- Add 15,000 new long-term care beds over the next five years and 30,000 new beds over the next 10 years
- Put an end to “hallway medicine”
- Spend $1.9 billion over the next decade on mental health and addiction support
- Encourage more doctors to move to northern Ontario
- Invest $98 million a year to provide dental care to low-income seniors
Care Watch Observations
- Support for seniors: All parties have expressed some “support” for senior citizens. The strongest statements were made by the New Democratic, Liberal and Green parties, respectively. The NDP and Liberals specifically identified health equity as an objective.
- Home Care: The Green, Liberal and New Democratic parties have all made commitments to provide home care to seniors, including increasing funding for home and community care. The strongest and most comprehensive proposals, with associated funding, were made by the Liberals and NDP, and their proposed programming improvements are reasonably clear. The NDP committed to moving towards more public, not-for-profit delivery of home care services, and curtailing privatization. The PCs have not addressed home care.
- Community Support Services: The Liberals and NDP have committed to expanding community support services, and provided funding commitments. The Green Party’s response was supportive, but vague. The PCs have not mentioned community support services.
- Personal Support Workers: The Liberals and New Democrats committed to improving the working conditions for PSWs. The Green Party focused on regulating PSWs, although it generally supported increasing PSW wages. The PCs have not mentioned PSW issues. No party has offered a concrete plan to improve or expand the PSW labour pool (recruit, train and retain PSWs), despite sentiments regarding improved services for northern, rural and/or underserved areas.
- LTC/Hospital Beds: All parties have made a commitment to increase the number of long term care and hospital beds. Hospitals have attracted the largest funding commitments from all parties.
- Pharmacare/Dental Care: The Liberals, New Democrats and PCs have all committed to introduction or expansion of pharmacare and dental care for seniors.
- Primary Care: The Liberals and NDP identified increased primary care (community health centres, nurse practitioner services, health promotion/maintenance, etc.) as central to maintaining seniors at home. The Greens and PCs have not addressed primary care.