Ottawa/Queen's Park




Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker says it was callous of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to dismiss the troubling testimony from Ontario's frontline health workers as "rhetoric" in Tuesday's Question Period at Queen's Park.

MPP Walker shared with the Premier some of the testimony heard during the pre-budget hearings, including the call from frontline staff for safer staffing levels in long-term care homes, a move also supported by the Ontario Long-Term Care Association, which represents some 440 nursing homes in Ontario.

"Hank Beekhuis of the Christian Labour Association, representing workers in long-term-care homes, told us that they 'had a resident die at the hand of another resident who was not, and could not, based on staffing levels, be adequately supervised,'" said MPP Walker. "Beekhuis also said they 'have had residents neglected or hurt because of this pervasive problem. It puts workers in a difficult and often unsafe situation."

MPP Walker said families will be disappointed to know the Liberal government was dismissive of the concerns raised by frontline health workers during budget hearings, most of whom are feeling burned out, stressed and overwhelmed.

"During pre-budget consultations, Ken Lewenza Sr., a former union president, said the government has a role to provide some humanity, some moral responsibility, some ethical standards, to those that we care for," Walker reminded the Premier. "If we can't take care of seniors and our most disabled, then the reality is, we're not meeting our moral compass."

He then pushed the Premier to ensure safe staffing levels across nursing homes to improve patient care.

"The Liberal government can no longer ignore the facts. Patient safety will be put at further risk unless the government takes the necessary action to address the very real concerns raised by our frontline workers."

source: Media release, Bill Walker, MPP


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