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Q&A: Barrie-Innisfil candidates take temperature of health care

BarrieToday contacted Barrie-Innisfil to hear what they have to say on a series of topics ahead of Thursday's provincial election

Editor's note: BarrieToday contacted all of the candidates in the Barrie-Innisfil riding to hear what they have to say on a series of topics ahead of Thursday's provincial election. Each candidate was asked to provide a 150-word response. Here is what they had to say about health care. 

Pekka Reinio, NDP:

A top priority in improving the health and well-being of seniors is to take profit out of long-term care.

Every dollar designated for long-term care should be spent on the care of seniors, not lining the pockets of investors and shareholders.

Seniors should be receiving four-hours of one-on-one care daily. PSWs should be paid a decent wage with opportunities for full-time work.

Finally, we must repeal the Conservative’s Bill 124 which  caps the wages of heroic nurses who have been the backbone of our health-care system throughout the pandemic.

Grace Dean, Ontario Party: 

Fixing aging at home strategies and making LTC affordable.

Benjamin Hughes, independent:

I think if anything has been abundantly clear over the past two years, it is that government does not do a good job at running an efficient health-care system.

I think a scenario where we allow private health care along with our current public health-care system would only be more efficient for all.

As far as our long-term care, I think we need to do much more with making it easier for elderly to stay independent and closer to family and friends.

John Olthuis, Liberal:

Empower seniors to live independently; help seniors pay for home repairs and assistive tools like wheelchairs, hearing aids, ramps and lifts; give more money to caregivers that support their loved ones; help 400,000 more seniors get home care by 2026;

Increase funding for home care by 10% annually prioritizing non-profit care; fund assisted living alternatives and “hub and spoke” community care; create a dementia care network; fully fund the clinical costs for hospices; end for-profit long-term care as quickly as possible with a target of 2028.

Place audits, inspections and zero-tolerance sanctions on long-term care homes that endanger residents or misdirect funds; repeal rules that protect long-term care companies from legal liability; build and redevelop 58,000 new non-profit long-term care spaces; ensure seniors in long-term care homes receive at least four hours of direct care every day.

Jake Tucker, Ontario People’s Front:

Long-term care facilities should not be a commercial profit centre. There should be universal "not-for-profit” and public long-term care facilities provided for our seniors and others requiring similar care throughout the province.

Bonnie North, Green:

Lately, “efficiency” means increased cuts, compounded by privatization and reduced protections.

What’s the cost of these “efficiencies”? According the CAF report, the pandemic deaths of over 3,700 seniors in for-profit, LTC facilities, were exacerbated by service cuts and poor oversight. Worse, not all deaths resulted from COVID.

Twenty-six seniors in one facility alone died from dehydration, through sheer neglect.

Among many healthcare solutions, Greens will:bBuild new and expanded hospitals, to meet demand; introduce, expand and regulate mental healthcare through OHIP; partner with the federal government for Universal Dental/Pharmacare; fast-track credential approvals for 15K international, health-care workers; increase home-care and LTC funding by 20 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively; introduce $25/hr minimum wage for PSWs; build 55K LTC beds by 2033, increased to at least 96K by 2041; eliminate for-profit care homes; ensure LTC homes face legal consequences for infractions; reinstate comprehensive inspections without notice.