Budget provides opportunity to fulfill the promise of homecare

Yesterday the Ontario government unveiled their 2013 provincial budget. From a SEIU Healthcare perspective, we’re very pleased to learn that $260 million has been set aside this year for homecare as part of a plan to meet the needs of an aging population and sustain public healthcare. If implemented properly, it should result in more care for those who need it and more hours for the Personal Support Workers we represent.

While this is a welcome injection of funding, we must all work to make sure that wait times are cut for all seniors on waiting lists and ensure that homecare is available early, before conditions become more complex.

In addition, it is critically important that this new money goes to the front line not the bottom line and as a start, we called for a hard cap on hospital CEOs pay. Recently, the government has announced that an advisory panel will soon be appointed to review compensation practices in the broader public sector and we hope to participate in order to serve as a reality check on the outrageous compensation many hospital CEOs are receiving.

One aspect of concern we do have with the budget is the announced zero percent growth in hospitals’ funding. As demand for the services only hospitals can provide increases, we must ensure that money is available to keep them open and fairly compensate the people who keep them running.

This budget has provided an opportunity to meet the promise of homecare and we urge all parties to work together to fulfil this promise. Together, we can build a homecare system all Ontarians can be proud of.

Sharleen Stewart
President, SEIU Healthcare

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