Ontario nurses urging investigation into long-term care facilities remain independent

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Many organizations are urging the Province to ensure the commission investigating Ontario's long-term care facilities is truly independent.

One such group is the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA).

This province has known for quite some time that this sector suffers from chronic underfunding, chronic understaffing and that many of the for-profit corporations that operate these homes value profit over care. There has been a great deal of complacency around fixing the system," Vicki McKenna, ONA president, said in a news release.

Not all Commissions are created equal,” she continued, “and we expect to see a full public inquiry that is truly independent. We need to get to the bottom of what led to the rampant devastation of residents and health-care workers in long-term care homes across the province.”

Additionally, based on an internal survey, of ONA members working in long-term care facilities, 65 per cent are not being paid for lost wages.

Those who choose to work in long- term care, despite the level of medical and cognitive conditions of residents, are paid lower wages and fewer benefits than nurses and health-care professionals working in hospitals," McKenna said.

Further, 64 per cent are not being given full-time hours, even when they have given up a second, part-time position as instructed.

The scope and authority will be key to the outcome of this inquiry,” McKenna said. “Ontario has held multiple inquiries into long-term care--most recently, the Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in Long-Term Care. However, substantive changes to improve the long-term care sector have yet to be seen.”

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