Canadian Medical Association

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) calls on the federal government to act in addressing the appalling living conditions in some long-term care homes, working collaboratively with provinces/territories who have jurisdictions over the matter.   

“Federal leadership has proven critical in managing Canada’s response to COVID-19 and the government is to be commended for taking action and providing much needed national direction", says CMA president, Dr. Sandy Buchman. "Today, our country needs that leadership again.” 

The CMA has a long history of advocacy for seniors, and regrettably, while governments have been taking some steps, more needs to be done. Recent reports on the deplorable living conditions of seniors in some LTC homes are unacceptable. Quality living and care for seniors shouldn’t be defined by geographical borders, but rather by national standards.

As First Ministers meet this evening, CMA is calling for a coordinated response to the crisis unfolding in LTC homes. Immediate action by all governments is needed in this emergency, as follows:

•    rapidly assess the current health and wellness of all residents in long-term care as well as the resource capacity of long-term care homes in each jurisdiction;
•    ensure adequate staffing levels and safe working conditions for workers in the long-term care sector and home care, including adequate personal protective equipment;
•    establish transparent, publicly available pan-Canadian reporting on the conditions in long-term care residences in each jurisdiction, for example via the Canadian Institute on Health Information’s (CIHI) Continuing Care Reporting System;
•    commit to a comprehensive pan-Canadian plan to improve seniors care, including new federal funding; 
•    identify and implement more effective mechanisms to better support caregivers; 
•    review delivery models and propose regulated and accredited standards;
•    and, demonstrate Canada’s commitment to seniors, by formally supporting the call for a United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of all Older Persons.

The CMA remains available to support governments in addressing the needs of seniors during the pandemic and beyond.

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