TORONTO, August 30, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In light of new legislation which permanently suspends rights for the elderly, the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will hold a media briefing to announce they are escalating their call for the Ontario Human Rights Commission to undertake a formal investigation into systemic discrimination in the provision of healthcare in Ontario against the elderly based on age.
Natalie Mehra – Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition
Graham Webb – Executive Director, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly
Michael Hurley – President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions – CUPE
OHC, ACE, and CUPE requesting human rights investigation into systemic discrimination in the provision of health care in Ontario against the elderly based on age
Wednesday, August 31 – 12:00 p.m.
Register in advance for this media availability via Zoom:
The OHC, ACE, and CUPE are urging the Ontario Human Rights Commission to use their public inquiry powers under Section 31 of the Human Rights Code to investigate systemic discrimination in the provision of healthcare in Ontario against the elderly based on age.
The three organizations previously raised grave concern about the designation of disproportionately elderly patients as Alternate Level of Care (ALC) without sufficient and individualized attention to their particular care needs. Patients designated ALC are routinely treated as "bed blockers" who do not require hospital care, despite data showing that a significant proportion are actually waiting for another appropriate level of in-hospital care, including rehabilitation and complex continuing care. Elderly patients designated ALC are already systematically denied equitable access to publicly funded healthcare services in this province.
This inquiry is even more important considering the government’s proposed Bill 7. If enacted, Bill 7 will profoundly exacerbate the discrimination and disadvantage that elderly patients – and their families – experience today. Under Bill 7, a patient designated ALC may be moved to a long-term care (LTC) home without their consent. If they resist transfer, they may be charged a fee of hundreds or even thousands of dollars for every single day they remain in hospital. The Ford government has refused to provide clear and detailed information about how the new provisions would be implemented.
While the Ford government effectively blames elderly patients for "overstaying" in hospital, this crisis is entirely one of the government’s own making. Denying elderly patients appropriate hospital care and discharging them into profoundly under-resourced facilities is not only inhumane and ineffective, but also deeply discriminatory.
Ontario now has the fewest hospital beds per capita of any province in the country and ranks third to last in number of hospital beds among all countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Real cuts to hospital funding are projected for each of the next five years.
Ontario has not created alternatives to LTC that would help keep older community-dwelling adults out of hospital and LTC.
Older community-dwelling adults are not able to gain timely admission to LTC without going into hospital because the LTC homes and alternatives to LTC that seniors want are not available.
Although the Ford government has refused to provide clear and detailed information about how the new provisions of Bill 7 would be implemented, there are reports that in the north, so-called ALC patients could be sent to a LTC home as far as 300 kilometres away from their homes and families, while in the south, patients may be sent up to 100 kilometres away.
There are over 30,000 people on waiting lists for admission to LTC in Ontario.
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Ontario Health Coalition
Communications & Campaigns Director