Bill 70 gives dangerous liability shield to for-profit seniors’ care providers during global pandemic
EDMONTON - Friends of Medicare and Public Interest Alberta join organizations from civil society, labour, and senior citizens representing hundreds of thousands of Albertans speaking out against Bill 70: COVID Related Measures Act, which is expected to be voted on by the Legislative Assembly today. Twenty-four (24) organizations have signed an open letter to demand that this legislation not be passed into law because of the dangers it poses to Alberta seniors and their families. The letter was emailed to Premier Kenney, Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro and UCP MLA Richard Gotfried, the sponsor of this bill. The open letter will be tabled today in the Alberta Legislature by MLA Christina Grey, Critic for Labour and Immigration & Official Opposition House Leader.Read more
The Government of Alberta has recently asked community stakeholders to provide feedback on which actions would improve the disgraceful state of continuing care in Alberta. Public Interest Alberta has responded to the Government’s request to help ensure that Albertans have a continuing care system that works!Read more
A commemoration of the solemn anniversary of COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on Alberta's seniors
March 11 was the one-year anniversary of the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Public Interest Alberta, Friends of Medicare, the United Nurses of Alberta, and the Alberta Arts Action Group held a visual demonstration to commemorate the lives that didn't need to be lost, and to recognize the work that is yet to be done to ensure this tragedy is never repeated.Read more
Commemoration of the one year anniversary of COVID-19 shows the disproportionate toll the pandemic has taken on Alberta’s seniors
EDMONTON - March 11, 2021 marks the one year anniversary of the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, and seniors groups, labour groups, and advocacy groups are gathering outside of the Federal Building at the Legislature to install an visual representation of the lives we have lost to COVID-19, especially those of Alberta’s seniors who have been disproportionately affected. The visual will be a collection of roses, made by Erin Alyward, each one colour coded to show the age of the person we lost. The advocates and activists will also be joined by members of Alberta Arts Action Group, a group which blends arts and activism, who will sing and recite poetry as we mark this solemn occasion.Read more
The Alberta government has launched a review of facility-based continuing care in the province. Its main mechanism for public input is a survey, conducted by accounting firm MNP. The survey itself is deeply flawed and reveals some disturbing directions the government is considering, including a significant privatization agenda across many areas of seniors’ care. The result, if these directions are embraced, will be much higher out-of-pocket costs for seniors and their families, and a system where quality care will depend even more on someone’s ability to pay, rather than their care needs.
We are encouraging Albertans to fill out the government survey and also to contact the Minister of Health’s office to express the concerns you have with the direction they’re considering. There are five main ways we see that the government could strengthen the continuing care system for all Albertans, and we hope these points can help guide the input you send to them:
- Get profits out of seniors’ care.
- Build a seniors’ care system that is easy to access and navigate.
- Legislate staff-to-patient ratios to ensure quality care. Working conditions for staff are care conditions for patients.
- Develop a system that cares for everyone, based on need, and not ability to pay. We need fewer out-of-pocket costs, not more.
- Legislate a Seniors’ Advocate position that is arms length from the government and whose focus is on reporting to the public on the state of the seniors’ care system.
by Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare and Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta
The continuing care system in Alberta and across the country is in crisis and seniors are suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally. After decades of increasing privatization, declining staff-to-patient ratios, and a chronically underpaid and stretched-thin workforce, the COVID-19 pandemic swept away any pretense of a functional care system and has thrown the myriad issues and dangers facing seniors into sharp relief.Read more
This October 1st marks the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons. This year, as we contend with the ongoing upheaval caused by the COVID-19 global health crisis, we must also bear witness to the suffering caused by the long-standing failures of our seniors’ care system.
Seniors have suffered the greatest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, and Alberta is no exception. To date 97% of COVID-related deaths have been Albertans aged 60 or older, including 165 residents in continuing care. In July, the Royal Society of Canada found that 81% of COVID-19 deaths nationwide were residents of long-term care homes—a rate far outpacing other countries. Further, the worst impacts have occurred in for-profit facilities, which have been found to have had “more extensive outbreaks and more deaths” than public facilities. COVID-19 has exposed the many shortcomings of our seniors’ care system, borne of decades of privatization and the inequity that perpetual cost-cutting has wrought. What we are seeing now was decades in the making.Read more
Today, Premier Rachel Notley announced that if re-elected, the Alberta New Democratic Party is committed to building an additional 2,000 long term care (LTC) beds. The promised $170 million investment is welcome news to a system that is currently facing serious shortages.Read more
EDMONTON - Friends of Medicare and Public Interest Alberta premiered a series of four videos to kick off their new campaign Alberta Seniors Deserve Better, which highlights the issues facing seniors in the continuing care system, and encourages Albertans to sign a petition to call on all of Alberta’s political parties to make strengthening seniors’ care a top priority in the 2019 provincial election.Read more
Public Interest Alberta is pleased to release Priorities for Advancing the Public Interest.Read more