B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020. (B.C. NDP photo)

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020. (B.C. NDP photo)

B.C. VOTES 2020

Seniors care is one of the most important issues this election

Not an ideological decision, John Horgan says

A B.C. NDP government will carry on with its transformation of senior care by phasing out private, for-profit facilities and moving to an entirely public system, leader John Horgan says.

“I believe we need to transition to a fully public system, but we won’t be doing that overnight,” Horgan said at a campaign stop with care home employees in New Westminster Oct. 14. “I’m not going to eliminate facilities because of an ideological purpose.”

B.C.’s assisted living and senior care network is a mix of facilities run directly by regional health authorities and privately owned contractors, some run by churches and other non-profit societies and some that have paying clients along with publicly subsidized beds.

Terry Lake, the former B.C. Liberal health minister who took over in September as CEO of the B.C. Care Providers Association, said the promise is a departure from previous NDP policy of working with all providers of senior care in the province.

In February, B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie released a performance audit calculating that for-profit senior facilities spend an average of 49 per cent of their revenues on direct care, while non-profit contractors spend an average of 59 per cent on care. Mackenzie found that the calculations depended on “self-reported unaudited expense reports prepared by the care home operators, with no ability to verify the reported worked hours.”

RELATED: For-profit senior homes spend less on staff: advocate

RELATED: Bathing, meal times need work in B.C. senior homes

Currently a third of publicly funded long-term care beds are operated by B.C.’s regional health authorities. For-profit contractors operate 35 per cent, and not-for-profit contractors run the remaining 32 per cent. The budget for long-term care services was about $2 billion for the fiscal year ended in March, growing since Dix raised wages to union rates and wound down the practice of care aides moving from one part-time job to another at different facilities.

Horgan also matched a B.C. Liberal campaign promise to eliminate shared rooms in senior care facilities as B.C. continues to transform a system that struggled with infection control during the COVID-19 pandemic. B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson announced Oct. 5 that if his party forms government, it will devote $1 billion to replacing and upgrading care homes to all private rooms.

ALSO READ: BC Greens focus on long-term care reform in first platform promise

Horgan and NDP candidate Adrian Dix repeated their pledge to hire 7,000 more care aides along with the elimination of multi-bed wards. Dix said his program to bring up care-per-senior hours to the provincial standard is nearing its goal, after years of of sub-standard care in up to nine out of 10 facilities.

“At the end of this year, not a single care home will be below standard,” Dix said.

By the party:

BC Liberals

  • Introduce the Seniors’ Home Care Tax Credit, which provides seniors with a tax credit up to $7,000 a year for up to $20,000 of housekeeping, home repairs and supportive care.
  • Ensure every senior in long-term care who wants one has a private room.

  • Will invest an additional $1 billion over five years in new long-term care facilities.

BC Greens

  • Begin to shift the sector away from a for-profit private company model to a mix of public, non-for-profit, community-based services and co-ops.

  • Establish caregivers as a recognized healthcare profession
  • Give the Office of the Seniors Advocate more independence, expanded mandate

BC NDP

  • Hiring 7,000 new health care workers in long-term care and assisted living

  • Making sure private operators deliver better care
  • Launching a Silver Alert system

@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

This dark blue 2004 Ford 350 truck (with winches and a headache rack) was stolen from a property on Lodgepole Road in Barriere anywhere between the time of 2 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23. (Myram Facebook photo)
Truck stolen in Barriere last Monday – information sought

“Too much theft going on and no repercussions” says local

An animal at large, such as a dog running elsewhere than on the property of its owner, is one of many restrictions under the District of Clearwater's animal control bylaw. (Pixabay)
Facebook post causes stir around animal control

A resolution passed at the Nov. 3 District of Clearwater regular council… Continue reading

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

File photo
Investigation of break-and-enter on-going

Submitted by Sgt. G.D. Simpson November 21 Clearwater RCMP received a call… Continue reading

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix.”
Free ‘Hollywood Suite’ movies in December include ‘Keanussance’ titles starring Keanu Reeves

Also featured is the Israeli-made ‘Valley of Tears,’ a 10-part war drama

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

Most Read