QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) has released a statement after the Ford government refused to pass her legislation, Bill 203, More Than a Visitor Act, that would allow people in congregate care access to their essential caregivers, their loved ones.
“The Ford government had the power today to immediately pass this legislation that would guarantee that people living in congregate care have access to their essential caregivers. Some families that perform essential caregiving roles have been separated from their loved ones for almost a full year while this government refuses to acknowledge the human rights of congregate care residents, and to mandate meaningful access. The current guidance regarding designated essential caregivers is not enforceable and is being implemented inconsistently through long-term care homes, retirement homes, group homes and other congregate living.
While Ford and his ministers get into some retirement homes and developmental service agencies for a photo opportunity, residents in these homes are still prevented from accessing the essential support of their designated essential caregiver, often a loved one. On Saturday I hosted a virtual town hall meeting where I heard from mothers that haven’t been able to see their child with a disability who lives in a group home; and sons and daughters that haven’t held their elderly parent’s hand and helped them eat for months. People are dying alone, and going downhill quicker because they don’t have their loving, essential caregiver to support them.
Ford has the power to safely reunite these residents with their essential caregiver, to end the anguish that the separation and isolation has caused. Residents in congregate care settings deserve a government that is truly fighting for their well-being – not a government that poses for photo ops while denying people the care they need to make it through this pandemic.”