“Seniors in long-term care have bore the brunt of this pandemic,” Singh said Tuesday.
“I want us to remember how horrible it was. I can’t allow us to forget that the military had to be called in, and when the military went into Ontario and Quebec into long-term care homes, what they saw was so traumatic that it was worse, in some cases, than what they saw in war-torn communities.”
Singh said for-profit long-term care homes were the scenes of the “worst conditions.” Right now, he said, some money that funds long-term care goes into shareholders’ pockets.
If elected, he said an NDP government would make sure to remove profit from long-term care and make it public.
“We would work with provinces and territories to accelerate making sure there is no more profit-driven delivery of care,” Singh said.
“We need it to be publicly-delivered. We know the evidence is clear — when it’s public, when it’s not for profit, there are better outcomes, people are better off (and) we save lives.”
Singh said Canada has tackled a similar issue in the past. When the country introduced universal health-care, he said there were private hospitals and the government needed to use the Canada Health Act to make sure that the care didn’t remain private.
“Similarly, we provide funding, and that funding should go toward the best quality of care, should go toward staffing, should not go toward profits,” Singh said.
“We can figure out a way to make sure this is better using the Canada Health Act the same way we did when we tackled private hospitals.”
When asked how much it would cost for the federal government to take control of all the long-term care facilities across the country, Singh said, “We can’t afford not to act,” though he didn’t directly answer the question in terms of the projected price tag.
“If we don’t do anything, we’re going to see hundreds of seniors die,” he said. “That’s not a price I’m willing to pay.”
Singh said non-profit and public models of care are shown to work. He said he wants every dollar that’s spent to go directly to care.
“With the care guarantee, what we’ve seen in this pandemic is the outcomes — or what happened — wasn’t the same in every province,” Singh added. “The military were called in to Ontario and Quebec, but there were other provinces that had less of outbreaks or had better care, so let’s look at what the best practices are.”