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Letter to the Community Development and Recreation Committee – KPMG Core Services Review – Selling off 9 of the 10 Long Term Care Homes to the Private Sector.

Councillor, Giorgio Mammoliti,  Chair
And Members, Community Development and Recreation Committee
100 Queen Street West
10th Floor,WestTower
Toronto,Ontario
M5H  2N2

Dear Councillor Mammoliti,
And Members of the Community Development and Recreation Committee,

 Re: Item # CD6.1 Core Service Review

I am here today to speak on behalf of Local 79 regarding the City’s Core Service Review, and specifically the option presented by KPMG of selling off 9 of the 10 long term care homes to the private sector. There are four areas of concern that I wish to address.

1. Affordability:

According to a report published in 2009 by the Canadian Healthcare Association, in terms of affordability:

 

• Private homes fees vary, and most are well out of range for low and middle-income seniors.

I wish to highlight the fact, that the KPMG report recognizes, and states that:

City homes report they have a higher proportion of low income and high needs clients than most private homes.

Does the City of Toronto really want the responsibility of leaving a significant number of current residents in the City’s Homes without care, or even homeless, because they will be unable to afford the private sector homes?

For-profit facilities are well documented for costing more and delivering less. Turnover is central to the quality of work = quality of care equation. Heavy workloads and poor working conditions (including low pay and benefits, high injury rates, and workplace violence) lead to higher turnover. Higher turnover disrupts care and worsens quality.

2. Quality of Care:

A report delivered in October 2009 titled Residential Long-Term Care in Canada: Our Vision for Better Seniors’ Care, found that:

For-profit ownership is linked to lower staffing levels and poorer quality of care.

• A major Canadian study found that non-profit facilities provided 0.34 more

hours per resident per day (hprd) of direct care (nursing and care aides)

and 0.23 more hprd of support services than their for-profit equivalents.

Privatization, whether of services or entire facilities, is risky. It is difficult to reverse,

less transparent, and it opens seniors’ care to instability that harms residents,

workers, and the health care system. Long-term care privatization means public subsidies go to for-profits, from public dollars to build privately-owned facilities and pad profits, to the costs borne by hospitals when residents are admitted for avoidable health problems. These broader costs must also be kept in mind.

3. Impact on women:

Local 79 is very concerned about the effect that the KPMG option could have on women. Seniors’ care is particularly important to women. Failure to provide appropriate, affordable, quality care hurts women the most — especially in residential long-term care. According to national reports:

• Nearly two thirds of all long-term care residents and three quarters of residents

85 and older are women.

• On the whole, women have smaller incomes to cover costs.

4. Unique programs:

I want to conclude by focusing your attention on just a few of the reasons why the City of Toronto’s ten Homes are so unique and important, including:

• Programs that are tailor-made to reflect the multicultural and multilingual diversity of the specific neighbourhoods in which they are located. (e.g. cultural sensitivity in food preparation and programming.)

• The incorporating of programs for LGBT groups, where the City of Toronto is an acknowledged leader.

• The developing of special Alzheimer programs for residents and Alzheimer awareness training for families.

All of these are irreplaceable and unlikely to be duplicated easily by a private operator!

I can proudly state that Local 79 members working in Long Term Care and Services provide the highest quality care and services that the residents, and their families, have come to rely and count on, each and every day. Many residents, and their families, have told us that they are extremely anxious about the outcome for them if the City follows the KPMG option of selling off 9 of the 10 long term care homes to the private sector.

Local 79 is urging you not to exercise this option. Do not put the future of Toronto’s vulnerable seniors living in the City of Toronto’s Long Term Care Homes in jeopardy!

Yours truly,

Ann Dembinski

President

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