Trudeau under pressure to do more to protect seniors, long term care workers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be under pressure today to flesh out his promise to do more to protect seniors in long-term care homes, which have been hardest hit by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau promised earlier this week that the federal government would provide funding to top up the wages earned by essential workers in nursing homes who earn less than $2,500 a month.

That promise was discussed during a conference call among first ministers late Thursday.

No details of the call were immediately forthcoming, other than a brief summary of the discussion issued by the Prime Minister’s Office which said first ministers “agreed on the urgent need to ensure long-term care facilities have the resources they need to protect the health and well-being of their residents and workers.”

Since the salaries paid to workers in long-term care homes fall under provincial jurisdiction, Trudeau has been clear that whatever the federal government does must be in collaboration with the provinces.

Seniors Minister Deb Schulte told CBC News late Thursday that the federal government will boost transfer payments to the provinces and territories to allow them to top up wages. She did not say how much money Ottawa is prepared to ante up.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Personal support workers in nursing homes often work poorly paid part-time jobs in multiple facilities, which has contributed to the spread of COVID-19.

Topping up their wages is intended to compensate them for orders in some provinces that ban them from working in more than one facility. It’s also intended to encourage them to stay on a job that has become increasingly risky as COVID-19 sweeps like wildfire through long-term care homes across Canada.

In a letter late Thursday to Commons Speaker Anthony Rota, Conservative whip Mark Strahl argued that regular sittings could be done safely without putting at risk the health of MPs or Commons staff at a time when all Canadians are being advised to keep two-metres physical distance from one another and stay home as much as possible.

Strahl said only essential staff necessary for the operation of the Commons should be required to work, they should be issued with masks and gloves where necessary and hand sanitizing stations should be set up at entrances and exits of the Commons and other strategic locations throughout the parliamentary precinct.

Source: Read Full Article