Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam delivers her opening remarks during a news conference Monday Oct. 5, 2020 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

It’s time for conversation on harmonizing long-term care, says Trudeau

The federal government is ready to work with the provinces and territories to develop national standards on long-term care, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

Under the Canadian constitution, health care is a provincial jurisdiction and the federal government plays only a limited role in delivering health care.

“I think no Canadian wants to see their parents, their grandparents, their loved ones not well cared for in facilities across the country,” Trudeau said, adding that there should be no regional disparities in the level of care.

“I think that’s why the time has come for a conversation between the federal government and the provinces on harmonizing and establishing norms for long term care right across the country so that all Canadians can be reassured that wherever they live, we’re going to take care of elders that deserve the very best from all of us,” Trudeau added.

Red Cross to deploy additional resources

Toronto’s Eatonville Care Centre was one of five mentioned in a scathing report by the Canadian military about conditions at Ontario long-term care homes. (Chris Mulligan/CBC)

Speaking at a joint press conference with federal health officials in Ottawa, Trudeau said the Canadian Red Cross will deploy additional resources to some long-term care facilities across the country as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Canada.

“Seniors must be safe and well-cared for, and our government stands ready to help provincial counterparts in that work,” Trudeau said.

During the first wave of the pandemic, the federal government was forced to deploy hundreds of military personnel to seniors’ homes in Quebec and Ontario that were struggling to care for their residents because of the shortage of staff and lack of adequate training and pandemic planning.

Provincial and territorial governments have in turn urged the federal government to increase its health transfers to help them deal with the increased costs of dealing with the pandemic.

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