March 23rd, 2021

NDP long-term care legislation would provide for a room for every resident, more staffing, and support public and not-for-profit facilities

HALIFAX -- Today, the NDP will table several pieces of legislation to address a lack of investment in long-term care in Nova Scotia. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the serious problems that exist in Nova Scotia’s long-term care system, including years of disinvestment, multi-occupancy rooms, insufficient staffing, and low wages for long-term care workers.

“We know that residents of long-term care facilities have made some of the biggest sacrifices during the pandemic and deserve the changes required to long-term care to ensure every resident has a good quality of life,” said NDP Health and Wellness spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “To start, we need to make the investments needed to build new beds and make sure we have enough staff available to care for all residents at the level they deserve.”

The NDP legislation will include a bill to require that all residents of long-term care have a room and washroom of their own. A coalition of advocates released a legal opinion this week calling for national long-term care standards, including requiring semi-private or private rooms to accommodate all residents.

“People who live in long-term care have dealt with some of the most stressful restrictions during the pandemic. They deserve a serious commitment from the Liberal government to ensure they get the care they deserve,” said NDP Seniors spokesperson Kendra Coombes. “We need to make the investments needed to build enough new beds and make sure we have the staff available to do the work that’s needed.”

The NDP package of bills will also include legislation to ensure all new public capital funding for long-term care is restricted to public or not-for-profit facilities.

“When it comes to health care, including long-term care, investments made with public funds should not be used for private profit,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “We need to make major investments in long-term care to ensure people get the care they need. And when we’re investing, we need to make sure that public money is used for the public good.”

The NDP will also table legislation to create a public inquiry into long-term care in the province in light of COVID-19, as well as re-table the Care and Dignity Act which would legislate staffing ratios to ensure residents get the care they deserve.