Taxpayer Funds Must Improve Long-Term Care, Not Subsidize Corporate Dividends: Steelworkers

TORONTO – The United Steelworkers (USW) union is denouncing millions of taxpayers’ dollars being provided to private long-term care operators that are in turn paying millions in shareholder dividends, while vulnerable residents and front-line workers remain at risk from COVID-19.

“The death toll among seniors in Ontario’s long-term care homes has surpassed 1,800 and necessary investments still are not being made to better protect residents and workers from a second wave of COVID-19,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

“At the same time, for-profit corporations in the long-term care sector are being given millions in public subsidies and then turning around and handing out millions to their shareholders. The federal and Ontario governments appear to be just fine with this perverse situation,” Warren said.

The USW, which represents workers at several long-term care residences in Ontario, is calling for greater federal and provincial investments to protect residents and staff, as well as a ban on shareholder dividend payments for corporations that are receiving public subsidies.

The USW and other long-term care advocates are calling for changes to government subsidy rules following reports that the largest operator of private nursing homes in Canada received millions in federal wage subsidies while also giving millions to its shareholders in dividends.

“While thousands have died and millions are suffering economically during this pandemic, taxpayers should not be subsidizing wealthy corporations that can afford to pay dividends to shareholders,” Warren said.

“Our tax dollars should be invested in improved care and protection of residents and better wages, working conditions and safety standards for the staff who provide these vital services,” he said.

As the province’s long-term care homes brace for a potential second wave of COVID-19, Ontario’s Conservative government has not developed a comprehensive plan with necessary investments to protect residents and staff from such a scenario, Warren said.


For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, 416-243-8792
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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