NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says if she’s voted in, seniors and their families will no longer have to worry about the long-term care bed situation that’s been plaguing the province for quite some time now.
She addressed the issue in a packed cafe on Gore Street during her tour stop in Sault Ste. Marie on this rainy Saturday afternoon, saying that she plans to add 600 beds in the Sault as quickly as possible. She said part of her plan is to put Sault Ste. Marie at the top of the long-term care priority list.
“Two years is far too long to wait for Sault Ste. Marie seniors and their families that love them,” Horwath said. “Seniors often wait without the daily support they need to protect their own health and safety – and the worry their families cope with during that time can be immense. We can do better to get people into a home that offers the care they need, when they need it.”
Currently, the city only has 1,030 long-term care beds. This means that the 587 people on the wait list are being either pushed to the wayside or being forced to take up hospital beds, limiting those for other people who may need them.
The 600-bed commitment is part of Horwath’s plan to add 15,000 new long-term care beds across the province in the next five years; and 40,000 over the next 10 years. This plan couples with her promise to commit to inquiring about conditions in care homes as well as her plan to ensure that all care homes give each resident a minimum of four hours of hands-on care each day.
“We can do so much better than that by the people of the Sault; we can do so much better than that for Ontarians,” Horwath stated. “This election is all about what kind of change people want. New democrats are offering change for the better.”
She also addressed PC Party Leader Doug Ford’s plan to cut $6 million dollars across the board, which would impact senior’s care and health care, by saying, “It doesn’t have to be that way. There is hope for the future; there is hope for Sault Ste. Marie.”
In addition to addressing the wait lists and conditions afflicting long-term care, the NDP’s platform also promises to help seniors age in place and maintain their health by:
- Investing in home care and eliminating wait lists for personal support services
- Stopping cuts to local hospitals, ensuring that seniors can get the services they need close to home
- Allowing seniors to defer property taxes until they can sell their home, making life more affordable
- Extending publicly-funded dental care to every senior who doesn’t have retiree benefits
So, how does the party plan on paying off Ontario’s large deficit, while keeping their platform promises?
“We’re actually going to ask the wealthiest, richest people in Ontario, the richest corporations, to help us pay for these services,” Horwath explained. “So you’ll see that we do project deficits initially, but those deficits begin to reduce so we have the trajectory downward years four and five and we will begin to balance after that.”
She continued by saying, “The most important thing people need to think about is how much deficit families are experiencing. How many struggles do we know that everyday families are having to deal with? We’re going to fix the family budget first; we’re going to make life more affordable and make sure people can build a good life here. And then we’ll turn our attention to continuing to ensure that the deficit is decreased and then eliminated.”