TORONTO — Ontario's New Democrats are presenting a multi-billion-dollar plan to revamp the long-term care sector as the first plank of their 2022 election platform.
The official Opposition unveiled its vision for the sector at a press conference Friday with party leader Andrea Horwath saying she'll implement the sweeping change if elected premier.
The plan calls for a shift to a public, not-for-profit, long-term care system over the course of eight years, phasing out private operators.
Long-term care homes have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 1950 residents and eight staff dying.
"We have to take action now to make sure people are safe in nursing homes and during home-care visits throughout the second wave," Horwath said in a statement. "And we have to overhaul the system to make sure this nightmare never happens again."
Horwath said the NDP would also create 50,000 additional resident spaces in smaller "family-like" homes in that time. By cutting out for-profit providers, she said more funding will flow to front-line care.
The party also said it will boost worker pay by $5 per hour and pledged to mandate a minimum standard of 4.1 hours of daily care per resident.
The NDP estimate the plan would cost $6 billion in capital costs over eight years and $9.5 billion in operational funding over six years.
Ontario's next provincial election is potentially still years away but the Progressive Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats have all begun to nominate candidates and introduce policy proposals.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2020.
The Canadian Press