A petition started by the local Haliburton-City of Kawartha Lakes Long-Term Care Coalition has received more than 2,400 signatures in its first three weeks of being circulated.
All eyes are on Chrystia Freeland now as Canada’s finance minister gets set to table the nation’s first budget in two years. Here are a few things we hope to see.
Basic income: The Liberals’ own grassroots and many MPs are interested in this forward-thinking policy, as are the NDP and Green Party. This policy would be the linchpin in a plan to eliminate poverty. Time to put faith in an upstream policy – getting to the source of social policy ills, which is often income — that will prevent poverty and poor health.
Pharmacare: Universal pharmacare is the missing piece of Tommy Douglas’s Medicare legacy. We want everyone to have access to a common list of drugs and free from co-pays.
Until everyone has been vaccinated, the new local medical officer of health, Dr. Natalie Bocking, is urging people to remain vigilant and continue to follow public health recommendations to help stop the increased spread of the COVID-19 virus in the area.
During the past seven days, staff from the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit have conducted investigations on more than 94 new confirmed COVID cases. The bulk of these new cases are in Northumberland County, but additional cases have been confirmed in Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County.
“We, residents from across Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes, and friends, gathered together virtually, declare that we are of consensus that to fix long-term care, we need to…” so begins the Haliburton-City of Kawartha Lakes Declaration to Fix Long-Term Care, passed unanimously by some 50 residents from communities across the area at a virtual town hall meeting last week.
Hosted by the recently formed Haliburton-City of Kawartha Lakes Long-Term Coalition, the meeting included a presentation by Cathy Parkes of Canadians 4 National Standards.
Just last month, many unions and health advocates for long-term care were initially ecstatic to learn that the Ontario government was finally taking the necessary steps to improve quality of care for seniors in Ontario.
The government announced it would establish a new standard that would ensure that residents in nursing homes receive an “average of four hours of direct care, every day,” up from the 2.75 hours of care they receive now on average.
Kawartha Lakes is being allocated more than $390,000 through combined federal-provincial funding through the new COVID-19 resilience infrastructure stream. This stream seeks to build or renovate health and safety related projects in long-term care, education and for municipalities.
The funding is part of the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and reinforces the commitment of both the federal and provincial governments to protect the health and well-being of individuals and families during the pandemic.
The Ford government has introduced legislation that would make it significantly harder for residents and families to hold long-term care homes liable for harm resulting from exposure to COVID-19, says the Ontario Health Coalition, a position echoed by a local group advocating for better long-term care.
Joining their provincial and national counterparts to demand action on the state of long-term care, the Kawartha Lakes Health Coalition (KLHC) said staffing levels must improve.
The KLHC joined the Ontario Health Coalition in a “Day of Action” for long-term care across Canada, and demanded the Ford government take immediate action.
Concerned local residents from Haliburton County and Kawartha Lakes have banded together to form the Haliburton-CKL Long-Term Care Coalition to campaign for changes to nursing homes and how residents are cared for in Ontario and nationally.
“So many of us have had experiences with the long-term care system,” notes Haliburton community resident, Bonnie Roe. “COVID-19 has laid bare what we have all known for a long time – there’s an urgent need for improvement.”
Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist and professor, says there are three main questions that unite all of humanity. “What am I doing here? What am I supposed to be doing? And am I doing it right?”
COVID-19 has all of us asking these questions again even if we thought we had them figured out.
Our governments, for example, are starting to conclude that the austerity measures they have imposed last 40-plus years (from Conservatives and Liberals at different levels) were based on self-interest and greed.