Ford Government in Process of Awarding Thousands of Long-Term Care Beds to For-Profit Chains with Ghastly Records of Death and Suffering: New Coalition Report

TORONTO, Nov. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over the past year, the Ford government has been quietly awarding tens of thousands of long-term care beds to for-profit operators, among them those with the most horrific records during the pandemic, instead of building the 46,000 new and redeveloped long-term care beds slated to be built over the next 5 years under public and non-profit ownership, according to a report by the Ontario Health Coalition.

The Ontario Health Coalition was joined by family members of loved ones in for-profit long-term care in a press conference today to release a new report, Public Money Private Profit: The Ford Government & the Privatization of the Next Generation of Ontario’s Long-Term Care. They are launching a province-wide virtual tour to issue a call to action for Ontarians to stop the for-profit privatization of Ontario’s long-term care.

Among the key findings:

  • The Ford government is midway through allocating 30,436 beds and 30-year licenses
  • The majority of these (16,304) are in process of being allocated to for-profit companies. Of those, 12,084 or three quarters, have gone to 10 large chain companies with terrible pandemic records
  • The Ford government is also in the process of giving a minority of the beds to non-profits (10,990) and publicly owned municipal homes (2,918)

“Ontario is at a critical juncture. We have about 31,000 beds that are old and outdated in our long-term care homes. Their licenses end in 2025. They don't meet building standards that were set 20 years ago. They have to be entirely rebuilt,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “We were promised significant change and instead, we're getting another 30 years, unless we stop it, of for-profit licenses paid for by public money.”

Many of the projects have not yet received final approval and the for-profit privatization of them can still be stopped, but it is undeniable that Ontario’s Ford government is moving forward with new licenses and expansions covering tens of thousands of beds to the worst of the for-profit operators.

"Tendercare really failed at their job and they failed their residents and the families miserably. They failed to provide the necessities for life and the craziest thing is that they are being rewarded for it [with a new 30-year license and bed expansion]," said Doris Wai, whose grandmother passed away at Tendercare.

“All the families gathered together in front of the dining table to try to reach out to my grandma to see if she was okay. A few days later we got a call from the hospital doctor who took over the operation of the home, who told us she was in critical condition,” said Reed Zhao, whose grandmother passed away at Tendercare as well. “The only thing Tendercare did on time was give dividends to its shareholders.”

Nick Puopolo, whose mother is in Sienna Woodbridge Vista, experienced similar issues in that home. “They told us there are no issues, we have everything under control, we don’t have any staffing issues, everything is fine. 2 days later, 12 ambulances showed up at Woodbridge Vista.” 10 out of the 12 residents taken to the hospital passed away.

For more information: Natalie Mehra executive director (416) 230-6402