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Trudeau promises $9 billion into long-term care during B.C. campaign stop

Justin Trudeau makes campaign stop in Greater Victoria
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks at a campaign stop in Saanich. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff) Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks at a campaign stop in Saanich. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

A $9-billion investment into long-term care homes, including raising employees’ wages to at least $25 an hour, was promised by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau during a campaign stop in Saanich.

At Veterans Memorial Lodge on Thursday (Aug. 19), Trudeau promised a re-elected Liberal government will improve conditions for frontline workers in Canadian care homes.

“To ensure these tragedies never happen again and to build a better future for seniors, we need to work together to improve conditions and raise wages for the dedicated personal support workers who help care for them,” Trudeau said

While the management of long-term care facilities is under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, Trudeau promised training for up to 50,000 new support workers, doubling the home accessibility tax credit to $20,000, improving the quality and availability of long-term care beds, continuing infection prevention and control measures, and developing a Safe Long Term Care Act to ensure quality of care. He also promised the development of an Indigenous care division.

From March 2020 to February 2021, long term care home residents accounted for 69 per cent of COVID-19 deaths, according to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. More than 55,000 residents contracted the virus and 14,739 died. Another 23,110 long term care staff members got COVID-19 up until February, 28 of whom died.

READ ALSO: B.C. mandates COVID-19 vaccination for all long-term care, assisted living workers

In the first wave alone in B.C., from March 1 to Aug. 31, 2020, 907 long-term care residents and staff contracted COVID-19, making up seven per cent of all provincial cases at the time. Of them, 118 residents died, accounting for 57 per cent of B.C.’s deaths during the first wave.

“Personal support workers and health care workers are the heroes on the front lines of our pandemic response,” Trudeau said.

The Conservatives have promised to devote $3 billion in infrastructure funding to renovate long-term care homes and to introduce a monthly benefit for people caring for their parents at home. Taking a different approach, the New Democrats have said they will end private, for-profit long-term care, introducing a public system instead, and develop national care standards.

The Green Party has yet to release its election platform, but called for numerous changes earlier this year, including increased staffing and pay, investment in better training for staff, and a guaranteed four hours of regulated care per day for each long-term care resident.

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READ MORE: Who are your Greater Victoria candidates?

READ MORE: 2021 election coverage


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About the Author: Saanich News Staff

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