The Ford Government has been accused of neglecting long term care until the wave of death during the pandemic made it impossible to ignore. The government was caught flat-footed as horror story after horror story cascaded into the news almost daily. Opposition parties have said the solution is to eliminate the for-profit sector which accounts for almost 60 percent of Ontario’s LTC homes—amounting to just under 400 LTC homes.
In their platform the Liberals say, “we’ll end for-profit long-term care as quickly as possible while creating or improving 58,000 not-for-profit long-term care spaces. To protect residents in the meantime, we’ll improve conditions, inspect homes more often and go after abusive private care homes.
Similarly, the NDP platform reads, “starting in 2022, an NDP government will begin building a new, public and non-profit home and community care and long-term care system.”
The PCs don’t have a plan to make the system public, instead promising to invest in 31,000 new beds and to upgrade another 28,000.
Neither opposition platform provides details, but what both platforms seem to be suggesting is that they will build government facilities alongside the private system, with the objective apparently of gradually squeezing the private sector out by offering lower rates. Or maybe they mean they will start buying up the private sector homes. Either way it is not going to be easy and it is not going to be quick. Existing private sector operators have long term agreements with the provincial government—some up to 30 years. The private LTC sector is sitting on a real estate portfolio worth possibly $9 Billion. If the Liberals and NDP are serious about making the LTC system public, they need to spell out how they are going to do it in much more detail than a couple of throwaway sentences in their platforms.