March 17, 2020
TORONTO – Unifor is urging Premier Doug Ford to demand long-term care facilities close their doors to all visitors in order to protect the health of long-term care residents and workers from COVID-19 exposure.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes across the province were working short-staffed on a daily basis, stretching personal support workers far too thin,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Now is the time to make sure these homes are providing adequate staffing ratios to ensure workers are able to provide care safely and follow all precautions necessary to protect themselves and their vulnerable residents.”
The union demands the Premier immediately move to protect nursing homes in the province by increasing hours for all part-time and casual employees who are able to work full-time hours.
“Nursing home operators are already stretching the rules on limiting visitors in long-term care facilities as they have been instructed, and they continue to allow non-essential visits because they actually rely on those visitors to assist in direct care and support at meal times,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President. “We must have qualified staff providing all direct care, especially during these challenging times.”
“Increasing staff hours and making use of all those who are trained, available and appropriately screened will be essential to keeping residents and workers safe,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. “Premier Ford should enforce the best available practices and medical advice to protect Ontarians, and this case of lax controls in long-term care shows he isn’t ensuring proper care for those who need it most.”
Long-term care workers concerned about potentially unsafe practices in their workplace are asked to contact their Health and Safety Committee and their local union. Unifor has launched a hub for member information about the pandemic at unifor.org/COVID19 and encourages members to check the site regularly for updates.
For more information, please contact Unifor Communications representative Shelley Amyotte: email@example.com or 902-717-7491 (cell).