The recently tabled 2021-22 Provincial Budget seems to provide substantial and long overdue new funding for Long-Term Care, but it still fails to present a concerted plan of action on the real crisis in LTC in Nova Scotia in the short-term, and certainly, for the longer-term. An op-ed by Ian Johnson and Chris Parsons on behalf of Nova Scotians for Long-term Care Reform.

Danny Cavanagh: “The system of long-term care in our province is, for the most part, a private for-profit system and that must end. I think it’s fair to say that the residents and staff in long-term feel neglected, based on their treatment and working conditions.”

Danny Cavanagh on the need for decent pay. “People don’t often think about the cogs in the wheel as long as it is turning. Never much thought to the countless people behind the scenes in hospitals, nursing homes, long term care facilities – those providing home support. Every day they quietly worked along even though by doing so they put themselves in danger of getting Covid-19. We often think about the nurses, doctors and specialists, but not a lot about the cleaners, cooks, food service workers, the people keeping the buildings working, the paperwork flowing and all those behind the scenes keeping the wheels moving.”

“We were short-staffed to begin with. Now it is a disaster,” says a Halifax long term care worker employed at three separate group homes, reflecting on the first COVID-19 wave. “Of course, when someone feels sick, it is important that they stay home. But nobody is there to replace them. The care responsibilities are falling on fewer and fewer of us. Everyone calls us heroes, but we don’t have a choice. This is our job.”

Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh wants protection for all workers – particularly in the long-term care sector – to have the broadest protection possible to report to authorities or the public if the conditions in facilities or for residents are unacceptable, unhealthy, unsafe, or otherwise inhumane.