QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Teresa Armstrong (London—Fanshawe), is calling on the current government and all MPPs to pass her private member’s bill, Time to Care Act (Bill 13) by getting it to third reading urgently to protect seniors in long-term care. A vote on the bill will take place at the Ontario legislature Thursday, but whether a final vote ever happens is up to the government.
The Act will increase staffing levels in long-term care homes to guarantee at least four hours of hands on care per resident per day. More than 1,900 long-term care residents have died in care, and low staffing levels have been pointed to as a major contributing factor by countless experts, family members, staff, unions and through testimonies to the long-term care commission.
“Tomorrow’s vote is only one step. The current government decides if this bill goes to a final vote, and when. For the sake of our loved ones, we can’t have them pay it some lip service, then bury it,” said Armstrong.
On Tuesday, Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton indicated she would vote for the bill at second reading but when asked if she would support it at third reading, the minister refused to commit to fast-tracking it into law. Fullerton said, “We’ll see,” and "the future is interesting. You don't know what happens between then and now."
“This is not the time for vague political gestures. We need action right now to save lives. That starts by bringing this bill to a final vote right away, and committing the funding needed to give our seniors the safety and care they desperately need,” said Armstrong, who noted that a four-hour daily minimum standard of care is one of the interim recommendations of the province’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission.
This legislation was first introduced by France Gélinas in 2016, and this is the fourth time it has been tabled in the Ontario legislature.