TORONTO — Long-term care and seniors' advocates say they are disappointed Ontario's Progressive Conservative government is planning to bypass public hearings in order to quickly pass controversial long-term care legislation.
The seniors' advocacy group CARP, a lawyer for the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly and a long-term care advocate all say they had been hoping to participate in public hearings because they have serious concerns with the bill.
The legislation would allow hospital patients to be moved to a temporary long-term care home without their consent while they await a bed in their preferred facility.
Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra has said it will free up badly needed acute care beds in hospitals.
The legislation doesn't allow patients to be physically forced to move to a long-term care home, but it's not clear what would happen if a patient refuses a transfer.
Calandra says people should "absolutely" be charged a fee in that situation, but his office refused to clarify when patients should be charged a $62-a-day co-pay and when they should be subject to a hospital's uninsured rates, which can be thousands of dollars a day.
The government has now moved a motion that would advance the bill directly to third reading, which means it will not be considered by committee or be subject to public hearing at that stage.
Jane Meadus, a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, said the legislation came "out of the blue" last week after not being mentioned at all during the recent election campaign and should be scrapped.
"This is a piece of legislation which is taking away very serious rights of people to determine where they're going to live and probably live, in many instances, will probably be the last place they live," she said.
"They're just running roughshod over the rights of seniors and people with disabilities who have to live in long-term care."
Bill VanGorder, the chief operating officer and chief policy officer of CARP, said his members have real concerns about the bill.
"It really, once again, is looking at the issues...in hospital and needing to get into long-term care, it's looking at them from a system point of view, not from the point of view of the of the patient themselves," he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2022.
The Canadian Press