Faisal Hassan responds

Faisal Hassan, our MPP, generously took the time to respond to my recent post about long-term care home policy. I’ve reprinted his response fully below, with his permission.


Dear Mr. Norman,

I read with interest your column of October 18th entitled “Hassan calls for socialized elder care”. Your characterization of this as “gob-smackingly terrible idea” I take issue with.

Having spoken to hundreds of Long Term Care workers and families with elderly in Long Term Care and Retirement Homes, I can say with confidence that the for profit system is broken and the recent COVID-19 statistics more than back up that position.

It is a fact that for profit LTC deaths are at a greater number than that in public LTC.

The fact that the Canadian Military and the Red Cross had to take over many for profit facilities to assist in controlling Covid is a symptom of a deep problem.

Many personal support workers and others that work in LTC have spoken of having to work two and three part-time jobs to cobble together a full time wage.

The for profit sector thrives on part-time no benefits labour in order to keep their costs low and their shareholders happy.

We have heard countless stories of short staffing at even the most expensive of LTC and Retirement facilities. When profit is the motive, stories such as staff being told not to change a seniors brief until a certain level is reached are the horrifying results of watching the bottom line.

Taxpayers already are on the hook for LTC and Retirement as some staffing is paid from that “envelope”, I’m sure you are aware of for profit facilities having beds built and pandemic pay from the province to the private operator directly.

The NDP believes in public and non-profit home and long term care and have developed a complete plan to make that happen.

Our seniors deserve better than being warehoused in institution-like facilities where corners are cut when it comes to staffing and care in order to make greater profits for the private operator.

Conservatives and Liberals have frozen budgets, cut inspections and blocked public enquiries.

Our hospital health care system is public and I’m sure you wouldn’t prefer the American style for profit health care system where care is dependent on ability to pay.

Keeping public dollars in a public home care and long term care system only makes sense and it provides seniors with the protections they so deeply deserve.

I am happy to discuss this further with you at any time.

Sincerely,

Faisal Hassan

Two alarm fire at Weston and Lawrence

A two-alarm fire closed Weston Road near Lawrence for a few hours last night. Nobody was injured.

Hassan calls for socialized elder care

Faisal Hassan, our MPP, said this week that he would like to “ban greedy profit driven corporations from the home care and long term care sector so that every dollar goes into better care, and better living.” [sic]

This is a gob-smackingly terrible idea.

I have a friend who thinks that profit is in some way immoral. Something about it—he can never explain what (to my satisfaction at least)—seems dishonourable. I think that Hassan probably feels the same: that making a buck from seniors is a bit underhanded.

But there is nothing—not spiders, eels, or sticky tape—that I would fear more as an old person than someone who isn’t interested in my money. When I retire, I hope to live in comfort, able to buy myself high-speed internet, beer deliveries, and a sweet private room where I can sleep in until 10. This is why I save money now, and I expect my eventual nursing home to earn that money by giving me what I want.

In other words, I expect them to profit. I hope they do.

Would you eat at a non-profit restaurant? Gross. Would you sleep in a non-profit hotel? No, thank you. I like my meals hot and my sheets cold, and when I pay for these things, I get them.

Forbidding profits in nursing homes would be just as bad an idea. At best, government could force providers to follow regulations rather than their own self interest. Residents would get what they want only if the providers were obligated or inclined to provide it. They might hope to get kindly workers, but they could never be sure of that affection by—horrors—paying for it.

We buy warmth and affection everywhere else in the hospitality sector. We should be able to buy it in elder care too.

Upcoming events


The Weston GO and UPX will host an art exhibit this week. “Part 3”, by Kaya Joan, will be projected between 7 and 10 at night between October 21 and 24.


UrbanArts is launching an online painting workshop starting October 27.


Shakespeare In Action is launching a number of online programs:

Stroll Mount Dennis

If you’re looking for something to do in the middle—let’s hope—of the pandemic, the city has mapped out a tour of Mount Dennis that sounds like fun.

It includes a number of places I hadn’t heard of (and a few I had):

  • Portage Gardens Park
  • The Vendanta Society
  • An optical illusion box
  • Eglinton Flats and Topham Pond
  • Nyctophilia
  • The Pollinators mural
  • Welcome to Mount Dennis sign and mural
  • UrbanArts
  • Bala Avenue Community School

Neighbourhood Stroll: Mount Dennis