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CKMS Community Connections for 9 November 2020 with Jim Stewart and Riani de Wet of Waterloo Region Health Coalition

Show Notes

Jim Stewart and Riani de Wet at the microphone
Jim Stewart and Riani de Wet in May 2019

Jim Stewart and Riani de Wet of the Waterloo Region Health Coalition return to CKMS Community Connections to talk about the new legislation for Long Term Care facilities and privatization of health care.

Previous appearance on CCC: 27 May 2019.

The interview starts at 3m23s.


Ontario Health Coalition | Protecting public healthcare for all

See also:

Additional Notes from WRHC:

November 2, 2020 

For Immediate Release Attn: Assignment Editor 

Ford’s 4-hour long-term care announcement too late: 

Need commitment to deal with staffing crisis now 

Toronto – While the Ontario Health Coalition is happy that the Ford government has finally adopted the 4-hour  minimum care standard as policy, the timeline that they have given is so long that it is meaningless for the people  who are suffering and dying in long-term care now, warns the Coalition. The Coalition has been working to win a  minimum care standard in long-term care for more than 20 years, since the Harris government removed the existing  care standard in the late 1990s. For at least 15 years this has been a priority issue and the Health Coalition has held  countless events and activities to pressure consecutive governments to bring it in. Today the Ford government  announced that it has adopted the 4-hour target but will not commit to implementing it until 2024/25, four years  and a provincial election away. 

“Too much of the government’s response to date has been focused on PR at the expense of concrete measures, said  Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “There is much more that the Ford government could do right now to save lives and get care levels up, so announcing a care standard four years from now is just not  good enough.” 

“Ontarians need to know what concrete recruitment and training is going to happen right now to get staff into the  homes and to move us toward the four-hour minimum average care level as quickly as possible,” Ms. Mehra went on  to say. 

For example: 

  • 4 months ago, at the beginning of June, Quebec’s government launched a recruitment drive backed by the  full power of government and funded fully to get 10,000 PSW-equivalent workers, paid them $21 per hour  for training, increased wages to $26 an hour and is deploying this small army of workers into the homes. 
  • British Columbia’s government took action 6 months ago to provide full time work and an increased wage of  $21.75 per hour for PSWs in long-term care to stabilize the workforce. 
  • In contrast, Ontario’s government did nothing substantial in the summer months when there was a lull in  COVID-19 cases and should have been planning for the fall. Finally in September, they announced funding  and training for 2000 PSWs along with a series of piecemeal funding and training; no big recruitment drive,  no full time work, no improvement in wages and working conditions that would attract people to this work.  They also renewed the pandemic pay until March, but at $1 per hour less than it was in the summer.

“We are happy that the minimum care standard is finally, belatedly, adopted as policy but we cannot allow this to be  the way that this government tries to shut down the legitimate criticism about their inadequate response. We  desperately need staff in the homes now. It is in this government’s power to do more. Why will they not do it?”  concluded Ms. Mehra.

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8 Tel: 416-441-2502 Email: Web: 

November 4, 2020 

Attn: Assignment Editor For Immediate Release 

Almost Four Dozen People Who Applied to Testify Before the  

Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Bill 218 Limiting Legal Liability  for COVID-19 Harms for Long-Term Care Homes and Others, 

Cut Out of the Hearings Today 

Toronto – Increasingly frustrated with the lack of accountability for the response to COVID-19 in Ontario’s long-term  care homes, Coalition executive director Natalie Mehra called today’s revelation that dozens of people who applied  for standing in today’s legislative hearings on Bill 218 which limits legal liability for the home operators, “Injustice  heaped upon injustice,” for the families of those who have died.  

A number of family members and their lawyers were among those cut from the hearings, as the Ford government has  limited the hearings to one part-day meaning that there are only 15 spaces for people to be heard. The government  gave almost no notice for the hearings, which are being held this afternoon, so families spent hours in the past two  days reliving the horrors of the last days of their loved ones lives while trying to write up their presentations, only to  find that they will not be heard, Ms. Mehra reported. “It is heartbreaking, just so wrong,” she said. 

Fifty-eight people applied for standing and only 15 are being heard. The practice of severely limiting public hearings  has reached unprecedented levels under the Ford government which has also changed the rules of the Legislature to  enable themselves to pass bills with unprecedented speed. 

“There is no reason that the government cannot extend the hearings to one more day to hear from people who have  been directly impacted in the most devastating of ways,” she said. “We are calling on the government to extend the  hearings and give the families the ability to have input on this legislation that directly impacts their attempt to seek  justice.” 

Bill 218 raises the legal bar for those suing for COVID-19 harms to gross negligence from simple negligence. It  redefines “good faith effort” which usually means a reasonable and competent effort to say that long-term care and  retirement homes, among others, just had to make an “honest effort, whether reasonable or not”, thereby making it  both harder to sue and easier to defend. It makes these measures retroactive to March 17, 2020, the week that  COVID-19 began to spread in long-term care homes, impacting more than two dozen class action and legal suits that  are already underway against for-profit long-term care homes that were responsible for more than half of the COVID 19 deaths in Ontario’s homes in the first wave of the pandemic, a trend that is shaping up to be the same or worse in  the second wave, reported the Coalition. 

The Health Coalition, which opposes these measures for long-term care and retirement homes, will testify before the  Standing Committee on Justice Policy at 1 p.m. today and will call on the committee to extend the hearings.

15 Gervais Drive, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8 Tel: 416-441-2502 Email: Web: 


Download: ckms-community-connections-2020-11-09-episode067.mp3 (56.4 MB , 58m44s, episode 067)

Podcast Index

Time Title Artist Album
0m00s Theme for CKMS Community Connections ccc Steve Todd CKMS Community Connections
0m25s Currency Kevin California (a Newton's Cradle with a heart where the second ball should be)Timeless
3m23s Bob Jonkman and Jim Stewart talk about the state of the Covid pandemic in Ontario, and are joined by Riani de Wet to discuss long term care legislation.
58m01s Ridin’ With A Thief
while Bob gives the end credits.
Dan Walsh Dan Walsh | Virtuoso (Dan Walsh playing guitar)Virtuoso

CKMS Community Connections Hour One airs on CKMS-FM 102.7 on Monday from 11:00am to Noon, and Hour Two airs on Saturday from Noon to 1:00pm.

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Bonus Footage

YouTube: CKMS Community Connections for 9 November 2020

Show notes and podcast interview content is Copyright © 2020 by the participants, and released under a CC BYCreative Commons Attribution Only license. Copy, re-use, and deriviatives works are allowed with attribution to Radio Waterloo and a link to this page. Music selections are copyright by the respective rights holders.

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