In a letter to the new Minister of Long-Term Care, Rod Phillips, OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas urges a fresh approach towards fixing long-term care — an approach that focusses on giving PSWs the security and working conditions they need to provide top-quality care.
“As the new minister, now is the time for a fresh approach to the challenges facing PSWs in long-term care,” Thomas writes. “I’d like to urge you to make one of your first priorities enhancing patient care, something our members have been demanding for years.”
June 24, 2021
The Honourable Rod Phillips
Minister of Long-Term Care
6th Floor, 400 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1S5
RE: Better long-term care depends on a mandatory regulatory college for PSWs
On behalf of the thousands of OPSEU/SEFPO members working heroically on the front lines of long-term care, retirement homes and other related facilities, I’d first like to congratulate you on your appointment as minister in this incredibly important portfolio. I’m confident you’ll work diligently and with urgency to tackle the many challenges facing this vital but damaged public service.
I’d like to urge you to make one of your first priorities enhancing patient care, something our members have been demanding for years. A mandatory registry and regulatory body won’t fix all the problems plaguing long-term care, but it is an important building block towards better workplaces and better care is a mandatory registry and regulatory body.
As a union of PSWs risking their lives every day, we were disappointed in your predecessor’s decision to create a PSW registry that is only voluntary. As our members have said over and over – and would have said if they’d been consulted directly – a voluntary registry is really nothing more than a “glorified directory.” It will do little to improve care and safety in our homes, and it will do even less to improve the working conditions and security of PSWs.
But as the new minister, now is the time for a fresh approach to the challenges facing PSWs in long-term care. Now is the time to stop taking advice from self-interested and phantom organizations like OPSWA), which have no credibility with actual PSWs doing actual PSW work – the egregious posts that appeared on the group’s social media recently are all the evidence you should need that it’s not a group that actually speaks for workers.
As always, the members of our union – which is accountable, democratic and proud of its long history representing PSWs – are open to sitting down and working together with government to find ways to improve long-term care for workers, managers, and – mostly importantly – residents.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas