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Two-thirds support government takeovers of long-term care facilities

The horror and sorrow arising from the disproportionate number of deaths in long-term care facilities as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed grim realities about the conditions in which Canadian seniors (and others who cannot care for themselves) live.

Recent estimates are that 82 per cent of all deaths in the country have occurred in these places.

Now, the latest study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds two-thirds of Canadians (66%) say government should take over – or nationalize – LTCFs in order to increase the health and safety outcomes for people requiring long-term care. One-third (34%) disagree.

Opinions on this issue diverge primarily by political affiliation. Those who voted for the Conservative Party in last year’s federal election are a group divided, with 47 per cent favouring nationalization and 53 per cent opposing it. Among past supporters of the other major federal parties, at least three-quarters favour government control of privately owned LTCFs.

Currently, long-term care falls under provincial jurisdiction and is not subject to national standards under the Canada Health Act. The National Union of Public and General Employees has requested that the federal government extend the law to LTCFs in order to ensure consistent standards. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that this will be a consideration after a post-pandemic review takes place.

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