Councillor Josh Matlow

The More Time Lost, the More Lives Lost: My Advocacy as Toronto’s Seniors Advocate During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This public health emergency has quickly turned into a humanitarian crisis with seniors in long term care accounting for nearly 70% of Ontario’s COVID-19 deaths.

To save lives and better support our long term care workers, seniors and those living with accessibility challenges in our province, I kicked this year off by launching a campaign that asked the Premier, Minister of Long Term Care and Retired General to implement the following immediate changes: address the dangerous staffing shortages through stabilizing the workforce by offering more full-time employment opportunities, greater pay, heightened benefits, increased sick days and extending the $3 temporary wage increase for workers in both long term care and institutional settings passed the March 31st, 2021 expiration date; develop effective and timely vaccination roll-out plans that immediately administer the vaccine around the clock to all residents and workers, publish daily vaccine roll-out reports and address vaccine hesitancy amongst workers; and thirdly, to reverse the exemption provided to long term care homes and congregate care settings from civil proceedings by amending the Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, 2020. Thank you to all those that signed my petition and wrote to our elected officials!

Moreover, to ensure that my voice as Toronto’s Seniors Advocate was included in Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, I submitted the following submission that requested they consider and adopt a number of recommendations that would bring about transformational change in both the delivery and standards of care . To read the full submission, please click here.

At last week’s City Council meeting, I pleased to share that my motion requesting the province and Ministries to reform their COVID-19 response in long-term care homes and approach to care passed unanimously at Council. Thank you to everyone who wrote in support and to Dr. Nathan Stall for his expert advice.

We owe it to our long term care homes staff and residents, along with their families and friends, to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are provided the highest standards of safety and care. It is simply unacceptable for our government to do anything less then to accept expert advice and act on it immediately in order to save lives.

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