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Council on Aging Responds to Phase-In of Fee Increases in Long Term Care Facilities and Chronic Care Hospitals

August 2, 2002


Contact: Colleen Boland Telephone 542-133 FAX: 542-5493

Long Term Care Minister Dan Newman made a red faced "retreat" statement
yesterday when he announced that the $7.02 daily increase in "rent" for
accommodation in long term care facilities and chronic care hospitals has
been reduced to $3.02 and will start on September 1st rather than August 1st. The balance of the 15.8% rent hike to be phased in over the next three
years.

This is still small comfort to frail elderly seniors who will have to find
an additional $90 a month for ward accommodation (four or more in a room)
in either long term care or chronic care hospitals. The amount is even
higher for seniors currently occupying semi-private or private rooms. Can
you imagine your reaction if your rent or your property taxes went up by $90
a month?

Newman announced yesterday that the 525 long term care facilities (including
chronic care hospitals) will receive $100 million, the bulk of it to hire
600 more nurses and 1,800 personal care aides.

In responding to the latest announcement, Christine McMillan, President of
the Frontenac Kingston Council on Aging stated: . "These are seniors who do
not have the luxury of getting a part-time job to buffer the minimum $90.00
a month rent increase. However, seniors can do mathematics and they do
vote."

In explaining the government's latest sting operation she said, " It's a
stunning slight of hand! The 15.8% increase in rent over 3 years will raise
an extra $153 million from frail elderly seniors. The government, to
justify the rent increase, then announces it will spend a one-time $100
million on 600 nurses and 1,800 personal care workers to care for 60,000
residents - that works out to a little more than 1 nurse and 3.5 personal
care workers for each of the 525 facilities in Ontario, provided they can
recruit the nurses. There is no explanation on how these jobs will be funded
when the $100 million is spent."

Donna Rubin, CEO of the Ontario Association for Non-Profit Homes and
Services for Seniors noted yesterday that, "Each of Ontario's long-term care
residents will now receive an additional 15 minutes of care daily. For this,
they will pay more than $1,000 annually."

McMillan went on to say, "The announcement of $98 million toward new and
redeveloped long term care beds is a sham. This amount was announced in
last May's budget and is part of the promised 20,000 beds that were first
announced a few years ago. The government trots out the announcement each
time it has to justify its abuse of seniors. In fact the government
announced this expenditure once again last May."

"There is no question", McMillan said. "The seniors and their advocates are
not going to be quiet about this funny money deal. This government should
recognize that seniors form the largest proportion of the electorate who
vote at municipal, provincial and federal elections."

This massive rent increase has mobilized seniors' organizations across the
province. The Council on Aging in their brief to the Premier stated that
this increase is "elder abuse" under the government's own definition of
elder abuse.

The Council on Aging has written to Ann McLellan, Federal Minister of Health
to determine if the increases in any way contravenes the Canada Health Act
since it also applies to chronic care hospitals. They are also contacting
the Advocacy Centre for Elders (a legal aid clinic), to determine if the
increase can be challenged on the grounds of elder abuse since it amounts to
extortion from seniors who have no choice.