Provinces “have failed to support seniors,” says Trudeau after new disturbing study on pandemic released

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today launched the idea of ​​introducing national standards and reopening the Canada Health Act to address some of the vulnerabilities that the pandemic has exposed in long-term care homes – while accusing provincial governments of “failing to support seniors”. His comments came after the Canadian Institute for Health Information released a new report that found that the percentage of deaths from COVID-19 in Canada in long-term care facilities is about double the average for other countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (OECD).

As of May 25, residents of long-term care facilities accounted for 81% of all reported deaths from COVID-19 in Canada; the average percentage of deaths from COVID-19 occurring in LTC facilities in 16 other OECD countries was 42%.

The figures cited in the report are percentages of the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in each country as of May 25 – so countries with much higher deaths have also had more deaths in their facilities. long-term care than Canada.

Spain, for example, saw a percentage of its deaths from a pandemic in long-term care lower than that of Canada – but as the total number of deaths in Spain until May 25 was much higher (26 834 vs. 6,566 in Canada), their number of pandemic deaths in long-term care were also much higher (17,730 vs. 5,324 in Canada).

Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the impact of the pandemic on long-term care

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to reporters after the OECD released a report showing that Canadian LTC homes had double the mortality rate in other countries surveyed. 2:11

“I think one of the things that is very clear is that our current support system for seniors in the country has not worked,” said Trudeau at a press conference outside his home at the Rideau. Cottage in Ottawa this morning.

“It is a provincial responsibility. So they are the ones who … failed to support our elders … What this recent report has shown, and frankly what this pandemic has shown from the very beginning, is that the job is not done adequately in long-term care centers across the country. ”

Long-term care homes fall under provincial jurisdiction, but the Prime Minister has said that the federal government is willing to work with the provinces to resolve long-term care issues. By June 24, more than 8,400 Canadians had died from COVID-19.

“We will continue to work with Premiers to ensure that our long-term care centers are adequately supported, whether it be by setting national standards, whether by additional funding, or by reviewing Canadian law on health, “said Trudeau, referring to federal legislation that establishes criteria for health transfers.

“There is a range of things we can do. ”

The issue is likely to be raised this evening during the weekly call between the Prime Minister and the Prime Ministers.

New CIHI study highlights provincial / territorial differences, showing that deaths from long-term care accounted for more than 70% of all deaths from COVID-19 in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta and 97% of all deaths in Nova Scotia.

At the time of the study, no deaths in long-term care facilities had been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and the territories. Two long-term care residents have since died in New Brunswick.

Ottawa’s offer comes amid growing calls for a national response to chronic problems in long-term care homes.

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