TORONTO, November 28, 2017 – Agencies that provide health care services to seniors and people with disabilities warn that Ontario’s new labour legislation could force them to reduce services, create waitlists, or increase client fees.
A recently released report commissioned by the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) and Home Care Ontario and produced by KPMG estimates that the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act will increase costs for home and community care agencies by $85 million annually. $1.6 million of this increase is due to the minimum wage increase, and other significant costs include changes to scheduling, emergency leave and vacation requirements. Many of these changes come into effect on January 1, 2018.
The $85 million financial cost is the combined equivalent of one million PSW visits, 400,000 nursing visits and 70,000 allied health service visits through home care agencies, and over 450,000 hours of personal support, attendant care, and administrative work in community support agencies.
OCSA is supportive of most aspects the new legislation, which have enormous potential to benefit the home and community care workforce, and clients in turn. However, these benefits can only be achieved if appropriately funded. In order to avoid any negative impact to patient and client care, OCSA is calling on the province to commit to funding resultant service delivery cost increases.
Services such as home care nursing, personal support services, Meals on Wheels, Alzheimer and adult day programs, transportation to medical appointments, caregiver support, and palliative care are an essential part of Ontario’s health system, serving over a million Ontarians per year. Most of these services are provided by not-for-profit organizations, and most have not received increases to their base operational funding in seven years.
“When the government makes significant changes to health care operations, it must be ready to find solutions to resulting challenges faced by clients and caregivers,” says Deborah Simon, OCSA CEO.
The government has taken steps to alleviate pressures facing small business and municipalities, and the Ministry of Education has promised a funding package to child care centres. However, the government has yet to address the concerns of home and community care agencies.
“We fully support measures which build a healthier workforce, but there’s no need for those measures to be at the expense of the seniors and people with disabilities who count on us,” says Simon.
Across the province each year, over one million people receive home care and community support services – and the need is growing. The Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) represents 270 not-for-profit organizations that provide home care and community support services that help seniors and people with disabilities live independently in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. These compassionate and cost-effective services improve quality of life and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, emergency room visits and premature institutionalization. They are the key to a sustainable health care system for Ontario. For more information, visit www.ocsa.on.ca.
Interviews are available with OCSA CEO Deborah Simon. For more information please contact:
Ontario Community Support Association
416-256-3010 x 242