Letter to the Editor of the Hamilton Spectator

June 7, 2019

I am writing in response to the op-ed published in the Hamilton Spector on June 7, 2019, titled, Why we need more workers to care for our elderly loved ones. We strongly urge media to check the facts before publishing inaccurate and inflammatory opinion pieces.

One critical piece of misinformation is that long-term care operators use government funding meant for resident care for other purposes. This is not true. 

In Ontario, all long-term care homes receive the same funding from the provincial government for nursing and personal care, programs and services, and food, which can only to be spent on those items. If this money is not used, it must be returned to the government. Long-term care homes do not use this money for any other purpose.

This funding system applies to all long-term care homes in the province, whether they are municipal homes, privately owned homes, or not-for-profits. Together, these homes are committed to providing high-quality care to their residents in safe and supportive environments, to being good employers, and to being responsible stewards of public funds. 

With wait lists for long-term care at record levels, by the time people are admitted to long-term care they have much higher needs for care than even five years ago. There is no question that long-term care homes need more staff, and that’s why we continue to call on the government to increase the amount of funding they provide to homes to pay for care staff.

The allegation by SEIU President Sharleen Stewart that privately owned homes can make profits off of care funding is completely false. Publishing inaccurate information like this is not helpful to the residents, families, and dedicated staff in long-term care and adds further stress to a long-term care system that needs more government funding and public support, not unfounded criticism. 

- Donna Duncan, CEO
  Ontario Long Term Care Association