It’s Time to Care - Giant "Rock-in" Chair Tour

Come out and join us in one of the province wide locations for the Ontario Health Coalition “Rocking Chair Tour” raising awareness for a much needed minimum standard of care for nursing homes in Ontario. If you are in the area, take time to show your support.  The 10-foot rocking chair will be an eye-catching, attention-grabbing sight to see for the the various communities during a short press conference and leafleting session.

Together, we have been advocating for this since the Conservative government got rid of a minimum standard of care in LTC in 1996. The awareness campaign also highlights the need to release expensive CCC and acute care beds in hospitals and reduce the waiting list to get into nursing homes by increasing the number of LTC beds in the province.  

We look forward to seeing you there. Be sure to engage us during the day of the event on Twitter @SEIUHealthCan.

Click HERE for dates and locations.

FACT SHEET: A Closer Look at Long-Term Care (Click HERE for .pdf version)
Ontario Health Coalition Briefing Note

May 20, 2014

What is a Minimum Care Staffing Standard?

Like Day Cares have staff-to-infant ratios and some school classes have limits on class sizes, a minimum care standard is a way of ensuring that there is enough care given to meet the needs of residents in long-term care homes.

We are proposing that Ontario adopt a mandatory average minimum care staffing levels of 4-hours daily hands-on care for each resident.

Ontario Used to Have a Minimum Standard

In 1996, Ontario’s Conservative government withdrew the regulation that provided for a minimum care standard and stopped inspecting long-term care homes. Care suffered and media reports of horrible deaths due to bed sores and neglect led to some improvements. But a care standard was never re-instated. Since then, more than 10,000 hospital beds have been cut and patients discharged with more and more acute and complex conditions. But care levels have not increased to match the increase in complexity and acuity among long-term care residents. We are insisting that the government reinstate a care standard to make long-term care homes safer for both residents and staff and to improve quality of life for residents.

Long Waits for Long-Term Care

Access to long-term care facilities is poor and has been declining over the last half-decade while hospital chronic care patients continue to be downloaded from hospitals onto long-term care wait lists. There is a severe and chronic backlog of Ontarians waiting for access to long-term care homes that has numbered more than 20,000 for well over a decade. With wait lists numbering over 20,000 and extremely low vacancy rates, there is no capacity for long-term care homes to offset any planned new hospital cuts. Ontario’s Health Quality Council reported in 2011 that median wait times for long-term care were 5 months for people waiting at home and 2.5 months for patients waiting in hospitals. 1 Average waits across the board for a LTC bed tripled between 2005 and 2011 to three months.

Patients’ Rights

In order to cut and close hospital beds, some patients have been coerced either by being told that they must pay exorbitant fees for their hospital bed or by being forced to go to a long-term care home that is not of their choosing. According to a report by the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, hospitals often have policies requiring applicants to long-term care to make one of the following "choices": accept the first available bed in any LTC home; return home to wait for their home of choice; go to a retirement home to await their home of choice; or pay a very high rate for their hospital bed. However the legislation is clear that this is not legal. 2 In fact, in a statement by Sheamus Murphy, Director of Communications for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, "The primacy of choice and consent" is entrenched in the Long-Term Care Homes Act and that the government has no plans to remove applicant choice.3 However, this is not enforced as it should be. Instead, hospitals face ever more pressure to move patients out, whether appropriate care is in place or not.

Ontario Long-Term Care: BY THE NUMBERS

As of September 2013, there were 77,707 long-term care beds in Ontario in 628 homes. (Ministry of Health data.)

Eligible people on the wait list 21,834 (as of September 2013, the latest Ministry of Health data that is public.)

In a recent report, it was disclosed that Ontario’s long-term care homes use antipsychotic drugs at more than double the rate of U.S. nursing homes. On average 33 percent of residents are prescribed these drugs. Homes, often short-staffed, use the drugs to calm, restrain, and reduce wandering and agitated residents. (Toronto Star, Use of antipsychotics soaring at Ontario’s nursing homes, 2013.)

Average number of residents per long-term care home: >120.

Only 40% of Ontarians waiting for a long-term care placement get their first choice of long-term care home.

Manipulating the wait lists: Recently, hospital staff report to the OHC that they are being told not to give patients long-term care as an option. This is an unlawful attempt to lower the wait lists by depriving people of needed care.

Ontario’s chronic care (complex continuing care) hospital beds have been cut in half since 1990, amounting to a closure of more than 5,600 beds. In addition, 12,300 acute care and other hospital beds have been cut.

Long waits are a chronic problem that needs to be addressed: In 2001, the Ontario Health Coalition reported long-term care homes wait lists of 25,000, based on Ministry of Health data at the time. In 2011, wait lists for long-term care total 36,000 with 24,000 waiting for a placement plus 12,000 waiting in a long-term care facility not of their choosing for a transfer.


Some facts and figures Ontario LTC Wait Lists

By Region

Local Health Integration Networks

Total Long Stay Wait List


Ontario wide



Erie St. Clair



South West



Waterloo Wellington



Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant



Central West



Mississauga Halton



Toronto Central






Central East



South East






North Simcoe Muskoka



North East



North West



1 Health Quality Ontario 2011, pages 3 & 16.
2 "Discharge from Hospital to Long-Term Care: Issues in Ontario." Jane E. Meadus, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly. July 2013.
3 Ibid.



You’re invited to an SEIU Healthcare movie night

In celebration of PSW Day, SEIU Healthcare will be screening “Made in the USA”, a film about worker’s rights. Screenings will take place in Hamilton, Brampton, and St. Catharines, (see below for dates, times and locations). These events are FREE to all SEIU Healthcare members and their family! Children are welcome! For more information and to R.S.V.P. call the MRC at 1-877-672-7348. Please note that Etobicoke, Peterborough and Cambridge locations are cancelled. 

Doors open at 6:30pm for all locations

Hamilton:  May 21st

1031 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON L8L 3E3

United Steel Worker Centre

Free Parking in the back parking lot

Brampton :  May 26th

500 Ray Lawson Blvd, Brampton, ON L6Y 5B3

South Fletcher’s Sportplex

Free Parking

St. Catharines May 22nd

1 St. Paul Street, Suite 102, St. Catharines, ON L2R 7L2

SEIU Office

National Nurses Week Contest May 12-16 2014

We all know that nurses are integral to our healthcare system; the care and service they provide is invaluable. In celebration of National Nurses Week we’re hosting a contest for all SEIU Nurses!

CALLING ALL SEIU NURSES: From Monday, May 12, 2014 – Friday, May 16, 2014 submit your personal story to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about why you chose to become a nurse. One first place winner in the story competition will receive a $150 gift card and have their story printed in our monthly newsletter. One second place winner will receive a $50 gift card. Good luck!

RULES: You must be an SEIU nurse member in order to be eligible for one of the above mentioned prizes, where then, we will verify your information through our member database. By submitting an entry, you authorize SEIU Healthcare to use your submission in materials that support SEIU Healthcare, as well as understand that your name and identity may be revealed in descriptive text or commentary in connection to the submission. All submissions must be original and submitted by the author. SEIU Healthcare has indefinite use of the submission with no compensation to the author, becoming property of SEIU Healthcare. The contest has no affiliation other than to SEIU Healthcare. In the case that a prize has been lost or stolen in the mailing process, we will not issue another one. The odds of winning will depend on the number of valid submissions. Only winners of the contest will be contacted the following week of May 19, 2014 through e-mail address used by the author during time of entry submission, and will be asked to provide a current mailing address for the prize.


National Day of Mourning: Taking a moment to remember

You’ve seen them before- you might recognize their face. Some of us even know these people by name or are related to them. On April 28th every year, we commemorate them. Join SEIU Healthcare as we mark the National Day of Mourning and pay our respects to the thousands of people who have lost their lives or been injured at work.

About 1,000 Canadian workers die in the workplace every year. And that number has risen over the past 15 years. This is in contrast to almost every other OECD country, where the incidence of workplace fatalities is declining.

On this day we not only pay our respects to these people and to their families, but we also continue to fight for better working conditions for all workers. Health and safety is an important issue, especially in healthcare. SEIU Healthcare members are constantly exposed to needles, deadly disease, toxic chemicals, etc. That’s why it’s important to have strong health and safety committees- people who ensure that employers are taking every step necessary to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.

You may not be aware that a few years ago, SEIU Healthcare led the fight to replace traditional needles with safety-engineered medical devices. That’s one of the key reasons why needlestick injuries have dropped dramatically in our hospitals and long-term care homes over the past few years.

Worker safety is an important issue, and that’s why we’re asking you to join us in paying our respects on the National Day of Mourning on April 28th 2014. Events are going on all over the Province. Click here to find out what events are happening near you.

SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart will be speaking at the National Day of Mourning event at Brampton Monument Site. See details below:

Monday, April 28, 2014, 11:00 a.m.

Brampton Monument Site, Brampton Flower City, 8870 McLaughlin Road, Brampton

SAVE PUBLIC MEDICARE! Referendum to stop the privatization of our hospitals


If we can reach our target of 50,000 votes it will really make a difference!

Ontario Health Coalition Urgent Alert

Super Saturday Ontario-Wide Blitz

Saturday March 29 12 o'clock noon – 2 p.m.

Imagine how hard it will be for the Ontario government, heading into an election, to steamroll through an unpopular plan of cutting local hospital services and contracting them out to private clinics if fifty thousand Ontarians have joined in a voluntary referendum to vote against this plan. We can protect our local public hospitals if we all pull together.

Across Ontario, hundreds of volunteers will be going out in their local neighbourhoods and communities this Saturday to participate in a massive canvas blitz as part of a province-wide campaign and referendum to stop cuts to our local public hospitals and the contracting-out of services to private clinics.  We will be leafleting in malls and farmers' markets, going door-to-door, and collecting as many votes as possible for our referendum. It will be a fun and meaningful couple of hours and it will make a big difference if you can help.

If you live near one of the following "target towns" listed below, please go to the campaign office in that town and join in the blitz from noon - 2 p.m. on Saturday.

At the campaign office, they will give you all the information and support you need to help out. Please phone the campaign office to let them know you are coming.

If you do not live near those towns, this is what you should do:

You can help by distributing the tabloid-style leaflets in your neighbourhood door-to-door, or to seniors' centres, legions, community agencies and the like. Because time is short, we will be happy to courier tabloids and postcards to you, but please let us know by *today* or tomorrow morning if possible.  You could also find a location (like a local convenience store, drug store, legion or busy café) to host a ballot box/voting location in your area over next week leading up to and including the April 5 cross-province referendum day.

If you are collecting votes and can't get them to us by Thursday April 3, please let us know so that we can make an arrangement to get the vote count by Sunday April 6.  We will be holding press conference to release the results on Monday April 7.


We have developed two main materials for the Ontario-wide door-to-door campaign and vote to stop the dismantling of our local public hospitals and the contracting-out of their services to private clinics. Essentially, we are holding a referendum and doing a door-to-door campaign across Ontario. 



157 Street, Peterborough ON
Tel: 705-761-4408, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

315 Lancaster St. W. Unit #3, Kitchener ON
Tel: 519-743-4536, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. and Saturday 12:00 - 5:00 p.m.

620 Richmond St. Unit F, London ON
Tel: 226-238-9141, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

754 LaSalle Blvd. Montrose Mall, Sudbury ON
Tel: 705-560-6865

80 Chatham St. East, Windsor ON
Tel: 519-566-4772, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office Hours: Monday - Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


If you are coming from the surrounding area for one of the 5 target towns you can contact the following people to coordinate car-pooling:

Going to Peterborough:

- Durham:contact Charlie Courneyea, 416-557-5935
- Northumberland Hills: Contact Peggy Smith, 905-376-8075
- Lindsay: Contact James Mulhern, 705-324-7841

Going to Kitchener-Waterloo:

- Stratford: Contact Roxie Baker, 519-271-9243
- Guelph: Contact Magee McGuire, 519-767-0084
- Niagara/Hamilton Contact Sue Hotte 905-932-1646
- Grey Bruce Contact Len Hope, 519-389-4490

Going to London:

- St. Marys: Contact Gayle Beattie 519-301-8854
- Strathroy: Contact Sandra Edmondson, 519-245-0696

Going to Windsor:

- Chatham-Kent: Contact Shirley Roebuck, 519-677-4460

You can also help by getting involved in:

- Ottawa: Contact Marlene Rivier, 613-222-8392 or Al Dupuis, 613-808-7710
- Perth and Smiths Falls: Contact John Jackson, 613-285-4048
- Thunder Bay: Contact Jules Tupker 807-577-5946
- Let us know if you will help to coordinate activities in your area.

We already have over 10,000 votes in and are well on our way to our target of 50,000 across the province. The government will have to listen if tens of thousands come out and vote. The government must put a stop to cutting our local public hospital services and contracting them out to private health clinics.

Thank you so much!

2014 Homecare Summit: P-O-W-E-R! We got the power because we are a collective!

P-O-W-E-R! We got the power because we are a collective!

That was the message throughout the 2014 Homecare Summit, held in downtown Toronto March 12 and 13. About 80 homecare PSWs from across Ontario came together to share their work stories, rally around the “Sweet $16” homecare campaign, and learn about the power of collective action.

Our president Sharleen Stewart gave a presentation on the exhausting but important Red Cross strike and the journey towards justice for PSWs. A member leader told us more about the face-to-face meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne. And we heard from Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews, who personally thanked homecare workers for services they provide to thousands.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@J4PSWs, @SEIUHealthCan).