Skip to content

NDP to Moe: Use $32M fund for long-term care needs

More than 200 seniors lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opposition Leader Ryan Meili, left, listens as seniors critic Matt Love speaks to reporters during Monday afternoon's press briefing at the corner of Preston Avenue South and Adelaide Street East.

SASKATOON — Opposition Leader Ryan Meili and seniors critic Matt Love are calling on the Saskatchewan leadership under Premier Scott Moe to look into the welfare of its senior citizens by using the fund provided by the federal government to improve conditions of those living and working in long-term care facilities.

Meili and Love, the MLA for Saskatoon-Eastview, spoke with members of the media where they appealed to Moe and Minister Everett Hindley to spend the $32 million given by the federal government under the Safe Long-Term Care fund to improve the conditions of long-term care facilities that would benefit its residents and staff.

Love even wrote to Hindley, the Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors, and Rural and Remote Health Minister and MLA for Swift Current, as the provincial government intends to use the funds to offset previous expenditures rather than invest them in taking care of Saskatchewan’s senior population, the same people who helped built the province.

“While I welcome the announcement of $32 million from the federal government for long-term care, it is distressing that the province does not intend to make improvements to long-term care with this funding. Instead, you [Hindley] shared that your government intends to use the [Safe Long-Term Care] fund to offset previous expenditures,” Love said in his letter to Hindley.

On Monday, during a press conference with Meili, Love said that the provincial government failed to protect senior citizens especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“In Saskatchewan, at least lost 223 seniors who are in the care of this government were lost to COVID-19. We have to learn from this pandemic and we have to commit to doing better in the future. They [seniors] were supposed to be protected and safe in our provincial long-term care system. They were failed by this government,” said Love.

He said that they have been pushing to improve the standards of long-term care facilities in the province for decades.

“I believe the first area that we should look at is staffing levels. Continuing care aides are nurses that simply don’t have the resources to meet the needs of residents in long-term care residents. This [Safe Long-Term Care] funding injection is an opportunity to address the deficiencies that led to hundreds of outbreaks and should not be used to pad the government’s bottom line.

Meili added that seniors in Saskatchewan also deserve to be treated the same as the provincial governments of British Columbia and Ontario are doing when it comes to improving infrastructure, staffing levels and other measures that would benefit long-term care residents and those who are working in the facility.

“[Premier] Moe and the Sask. Party ignored serious issues in long-term care for years. These challenges no doubt contributed to the tragic loss of life in Saskatchewan care homes throughout the pandemic. Moe needs to do the right thing: change course and commit to investing those dollars where they are needed the most – on the front lines of long-term care,” said Meili.