The importance of having a Seniors' Advocate in Manitoba and of improving the quality of care in long term care facilities.
On January 29, 2021 we released our Manitoba Liberal Caucus report on the state of support for Manitoba's seniors. The report focused particularly on the need for a Manitoba Seniors' Advocate and on the need for improvements in long term care facilities. The Media release is below. The report itself can be found by:clicking on this link. The title of the report is Standing Up for Seniors: Ending 40+ years of Neglect. Why Manitoba needs a Seniors' Advocate and a new model for Long Term Care.
Manitoba Liberals Release Report Detailing 40+ Years of Neglect in Seniors Care: Seniors need Advocate, System Needs Reform
Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB - The Manitoba Liberal Caucus
released a report detailing 40+ years of warnings and reports of neglect by
Manitoba Governments of the conditions in personal care homes they say
contributed to the appalling Covid-19 death toll in personal care homes across
Of all OECD countries, Canada’s death rate in personal care homes
is by far the worst. Manitoba’s per capita mortality rate is the second worst
in the country. Manitoba Liberals say
that Canada’s appalling PCH morality rate is directly connected to Canada
having one of the highest numbers of seniors living in institutions in the
The report details a series of grim concerns: the abuse of
anti-psychotic medications as “chemical restraints” and homes that don’t give
residents enough food or water. Deaths and injuries in care homes are rarely
investigated and almost never result in charges.
“The PC government’s response to the second wave was a disaster,
but it is a disaster that happened because for decades, NDP and PC governments
alike ignored red flags, pleas and horror stories.” said Dougald Lamont, Leader
of the Manitoba Liberal Party and MLA for St. Boniface. “This report shows why
Manitoba desperately needs an independent Seniors’ Advocate and a new model for
caring for seniors in our province.”
In August 2020, long-term care facilities were pleading with the
Pallister PCs to provide funding to help pay for Covid measures. Shared Health
and the Manitoba Government had ordered facilities to comply, but provided no
new funding to do so.
Long term care facilities made it clear that the PCs’ two years of
cuts followed on more than a decade or more of frozen funding from PC and NDP
The report details complaints about inadequate inspections, bad
food and dangerous conditions going back 40 years in Manitoba.
1980 - “All but one of Winnipeg’s 23 group homes for the elderly fall short of provincial
standards and are operating without licenses, says a Community Services
1993 - “Residents of privately run care homes run significantly higher
risks of having conditions that indicate a low quality of care that those in
non-profit facilities… A study by the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy says
that between 1987 and 1991, patients in privately run facilities were 20 per
cent more likely to have falls, fractures and pneumonia and nearly 40 per cent
as likely to be dehydrated.”
1995 - Manitoba PCHs have no obligation to report incidents of
1999 - Care Home staffing “woefully inadequate”
2000 - NDP rejects calls for increased staffing
2006 - Manitoba Nurses’ Union says LTC standards are not
consistent and many do not meet the minimum level of care
2015 - Existing infrastructure in nearly half of Winnipeg’s 39 PCH
were in “poor condition”
2016 - Pallister government limits reporting of Protections of
Persons in Care (PPCO)
2019 - MARCHE report states capital equipment funding had not
increased for 25 years.
Manitoba Liberals have been calling for action for seniors
throughout that time. Since 2016, Cindy Lamoureux, MLA for Tyndall Park and
Manitoba Liberal Seniors’ Critic, has been calling for the creation of a
Seniors’ Advocate modelled on a similar position in British Columbia. It was
part of the 2019 Manitoba Liberal platform.
In 2019, when Manitoba Liberal Health Critic Dr. Jon Gerrard
quoted a relative of a care home resident saying “It was easier to watch my dad
die in a personal care home than to watch him live in a personal care home.”
When the then-Health Minister Cameron Friesen suggested that Gerrard was
insulting staff and should apologize, Gerrard’s reply “You’re the one who
should apologize.” Gerrard was called out by the speaker, and ejected from the
legislature for the first time in his 20 years as MLA.
“The pandemic has shown just how rotten many of our systems are,
and we have a moral obligation to learn from this human tragedy and change how
we care for seniors, now and into the future,” said Lamont. “We can afford to
do the right thing, and it’s past due time we did.”