Unifor Demands NS Government Restore Long-Term Care Funding
HALIFAX–Unifor leaders and activists gathered on the steps of the Nova Scotia Legislature with community partners to demand the government restore funding to long-term care in the province.
“The McNeil government has its priorities all mixed up. After pleading no money for four years, the premier has been on a pre-election ‘spending tour’. This comes after slashing budgets used to feed and care for seniors,” said Linda McNeil, Atlantic Area Director. “We are again calling on the government to reverse the cuts and invest in long-term care improving care.”
The McNeil government has cut over $8 million from long-term care budgets in the last two provincial budgets. Impacts of these funding cuts have been particularly harsh on smaller, non-profit homes that were already operating on tight budgets.
“Care needs have escalated dramatically in recent years,” says Linda MacLeod, long-term care worker in Cape Breton. “People used to walk into our facility but now everyone arrives by ambulance needing far more complex care. With budget cuts, there are fewer resources and we’re all forced to deliver more care in less time and with fewer supports.”
Unifor members outlined the impacts of the provincial budget cuts after they witnessed worrisome trends like food products being replaced with cheaper, lower-quality alternatives, stricter rationing of food, elimination of social and recreational activities, and staff layoffs.
“We felt the need to speak out because we care so deeply for our residents,” said Jessica Dauphinee, long-term care worker in Halifax. “Many facilities are doing the best they can, but caregivers are too shocked to stay quiet. Seniors deserve better and this government should be respecting them and those who care for them.”
Unifor presented over 3,000 signatures to the Nova Scotia NDP and Progressive Conservative leaders to demand investment in long-term care. Both opposition parties have pledged to restore funding to long-term care in the province, should they form the next government.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including over 28,000 in health care. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.