Dan Walsh tells Bob Jonkman it’s “Virtusoso”, not “Virtuoso”. Talking about beards, playing guitar, teaching, how it was in “before times”, performing online, cancelled shows in the event list, the vibe of playing live, talking about The Moonshine Café,
LEWP is “Line Echo Weather Pattern”; Dan’s 2006 National Replicon 14 guitar, the mojo of guitar sound. Practicing or playing? Experimenting with Open Tuning. Where’s the soul in music? Not in Nashville, apparently… Stolen guitars, sentimental value.
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.
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.
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.
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.