CAW Delegation Raises Concerns with Ontario Health Minister

June 17, 2009, 12:11 PM EST

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A delegation from the CAW recently met with Ontario Minister of Health David Caplan to raise key concerns in the health care sector.

The CAW pressed home on two vital concerns including the repeated interference and frustation in hospital sector collective bargaining by the Ontario Hospital Association at a time of minimal funding increases from the province, threatening service cuts and closures.

The Minister noted the importance of reducing wait times in emergency rooms by ensuring alternative level of care patients were appropriately discharged into their community and indicated the government's intention to move forward in regulating private payment retirement homes.

The CAW delegation also raised at the June 15th meeting the looming potential for de-regulation of nursing homes in the province under the guise of regulatory transformation, suggsting it was counter-intuitive that long-term care would require much less, rather than much more attention to regulation.

They expressed determination to guarantee seniors are offered the highest quality care, and mindful of the daunting tasks simply to ensure their personal safety, the CAW called for the Minister to reconsider the retreat from minimum regulatory staffing standards that would ensure adequate care to safeguard residents.

Only days earlier, the Ontario Health Quality Council 2009 Report identified too few staff and insufficient attention to improving the home-like quality of resident's environments as key challenges to enhanced resident safety. The report noted for the past five years there have been about 11 falls per 100 residents - serious enough to result in a hospital emergency room visit; and there are 11.2 per cent of high risk residents suffering from pressure ulcers.

While the Minister stressed the importance of individualized and personalized care to each and every resident based on assessed need, CAW Local 302 President Nancy McMurphy stressed that the task must be to provide adequate quality care by ensuring there are sufficient staff. She said these facilities must become the 'homes' we would all aspire to have our loved family members reside in. "This can only happen when the government demands,through regulations, that operators provide a measurable level of care."

Attending the meeting from the CAW were National President Ken Lewenza; National Executive Board member and CAW Local 302 President Nancy McMurphy; CAW Ontario Health Care Council President and CAW Financial Secretary Local 1106 Shawn Rouse, CAW Director of Health Care Katha Fortier and National Representative Corey Vermey.

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