Many Canadians willing to pay more in taxes to fund changes to long-term care, poll finds

Click to play video: 'Poll: most Canadians want changes made to long term care system'
Poll: most Canadians want changes made to long term care system
WATCH: A new Angus Reid poll suggests the majority of Canadians want to see an overhaul to the long term care system. But only a few believe changes will actually be made. Grace Ke has more. – Jul 26, 2021

The loss of life and isolation at long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting impression on Canadians, a new poll suggests.

A poll conducted by Angus Reid found that just under half would avoid ending up in long-term care while 44 per cent “dread” the thought and 22 per cent are saving up for in-home care.

Click to play video: 'Long-term care survey finds Canadians want change'
Long-term care survey finds Canadians want change

“Our population is only aging, so as a result, I think this is an issue that’s really horrified a lot of Canadians and then they think not only about their loved ones, but of themselves,” Angus Reid Institute president Shachi Kurl said.

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As for private care, three in five said it should be minimized or phased out.

The BC Care Providers Association points out that Quebec, which has mostly government-owned and operated facilities, and Ontario, which has more private, for-profit facilities, were both hit hard during the pandemic.

Read more: The Canadian long-term care dilemma — where are we headed?

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In B.C. the breakdown is one-third for-profit, one-third not-for-profit, and one-third government-run.

“I think Canadians hear, particularly from the Ontario situation, and they generalize that across the country, but the model here in British Columbia has been working very well, providing very good care,” Terry Lake said.

When it comes to change, top priorities among survey respondents include more staff, more inspections, and more buildings with modern residences.

Read more: COVID-19: B.C. dropping appointments, group size limit for visitors to long-term care

Read next: Medicago to cease operations in Quebec, scuttling COVID-19 vaccine production plans

“I think we need to raise the wages of our staff in long-term care,” BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie said. “We need to increase the number of staff in long-term care. We need to give a stronger voice, a more cohesive voice to residents and family members in long-term care.

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“There need to be consequences for operators who consistently and persistently fail to meet their regulatory requirements.”

Fifty-five per cent of respondents said they were willing to accept a tax increase to fund improvements in long-term care. Out of all the provinces, British Columbians are the most willing to pay more, with three in five saying they are fine with a two-per-cent increase in personal taxes to fund long-term care.

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