NDP Leader John Horgan on Wednesday said COVID-19 exposed the true costs of BC Liberal cuts and privatization to seniors care, damage he promised to continue reversing with a new plan to invest in public care homes and crack down on operators who cut corners.
“During a health crisis, it’s seniors who are most at risk,” said Horgan. “Sixteen long years of BC Liberal neglect left long-term care homes dangerously understaffed and frontline workers underpaid. Our plan builds on the progress we’ve made to keep seniors healthy and safe, through the pandemic and beyond.”
Horgan made the comments as he announced a comprehensive plan to deliver better care to seniors—through the pandemic and beyond—by:
- Building new, better public long-term care homes, instead of handing hundreds of millions of dollars to for-profit corporations.
- Making sure private operators deliver better care with new requirements to ensure they deliver the care they are paid to and are more accountable for the public dollars they receive.
- Paying care workers fairly with “levelled up” wages and benefits, even after the pandemic ends.
- Investing $1.4 billion over 10 years to eliminate multi-bed rooms in health authority-owned long-term care facilities, giving seniors more dignity.
This plan builds on the commitment Horgan made to hire 7,000 new health care workers in long-term care and assisted living, investing in new training and opportunities for workers who lost their jobs in other sectors due to COVID-19, said the NDP.
“The BC Liberals changed laws to allow privatization and cuts while underpaying staff and making them work in multiple facilities,” said Jinny Sims, BC NDP candidate for Surrey-Panorama. “That contributed to outbreaks, making the pandemic worse. We can’t afford to go back to a government that puts the bottom-line before seniors.”