‘A failed venture’: Unifor president says Canada needs better long-term care system

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After witnessing the devastating impact of the novel coronavirus on many long-term care homes and its staff, the president of Canada’s largest private sector union says the country needs “a better system than we have today.”

“Hopefully governments will wake up and will now say: ‘Look this was a failed venture, we’d better regulate the industry [and] we’d better ensure that people have full time jobs and decent pay,’” Unifor president Jerry Dias told The West Block.

In an interview with host Mercedes Stephenson, Dias said his union represents thousands of health-care workers, including personal support workers employed both in for-profit and not-for-profit long-term care facilities.

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Many of these nursing homes only offer casual or part-time work to personal support workers, forcing them to take on two or three jobs “to make ends meet,” he said.

This problem is exacerbated in for-profit environments, he claimed, because those companies want to avoid paying salaries and providing benefits.

“We need a change,” Dias said. “People are overworked and underpaid.

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“So as long we have our seniors taken care of under a system for profit,

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