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Ontario Budget Disappointing
March 23, 2006 -- For Immediate Release
Toronto - The Ontario budget did not deliver the increased funding needed to make any significant improvements in long term care.
"We're disappointed and, quite frankly, very frustrated," said Donna Rubin, CEO of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS). "With the province recording higher-than-anticipated tax revenues, we expected the government to make good on its commitment to revolutionize long term care."
While the budget identifies $155 million for long term care, the bulk of this is to maintain existing programs. There appears to be little new funding to improve direct care and services for the 75,500 residents currently living in long term care homes.
"The fact remains that funding to provide the level of care needed by residents remains woefully inadequate," said Rubin.
Over the last three budgets, the Liberal government has raised the amount of annual funding going directly to care by about $2,000 per resident. This compares to a promised increase of $6,000 - a promise made by the Liberals during the last provincial election.
"The Liberals told us that seniors' issues, and long term care in particular, were priorities. Why then wasn't this an important item in the budget?" Rubin asked.
OANHSS estimates that the funding shortfall in the sector is now
$450 million a year. At current funding levels, the sector will
be unable to hire the additional 2,000 staff (including 600 nurses)
promised by the Ontario government. "In fact, most homes will
have difficulty keeping the staff they hired last year," stated
Other groups and organizations across the province have also been calling on Queen's Park to keep its $6,000 promise. These have included:
OANHSS is waiting to hear details of the investment announced for community services and supportive housing.
OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include municipal and charitable long term care homes, non-profit nursing homes, seniors' housing projects and community service agencies. Member organizations operate over 26,000 long term care beds and over 5,000 seniors' housing units across the province.
For more information:
Debbie Humphreys Steve Williams
QUOTES FROM SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS
Canadian Pensioners Concerned
Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities
Ontario Association of Residents' Councils
Ontario Society (Coalition) of Senior Citizens' Organizations
The United Senior Citizens of Ontario Inc.