For-profit seniors' care

Re: Report finds long-term facilities' profit outpacing staff, care costs in B.C. ( Castanet, Sept. 25/23)

B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie says in her latest report that a review of 181 facilities contracted to provide long-term care shows profit in 2022 increased 113 per cent over five years.

The report also found:

• Not-for-profit facilities spent 25% more on resident direct care and 27% more on indirect care than for-profit facilities

• For-profit facilities spent 66% more per bed on building costs than not-for-profit facilities

• For-profit facilities earned 7 times as much profit as not-for-profit facilities

• Not-for-profit facilities delivered 93,000 hours more of direct care than they were funded to deliver, and for-profits delivered 500,000 hours less than they were funded to deliver in 2021/22.

At the local for-profit care home where my mom resided, I regularly brought food for her, such as dinner buns and yogurt. I also brought the special foods she loved, such as Italian gnocchi.

From a for-profit care home perspective, it would cut into care home profits and shareholder dividends to provide even the occasional dinner bun to residents who like them.

I think for-profit care home companies are essentially real estate and development companies masquerading as care homes. The federal and provincial governments should, at the very least, freeze the construction of additional for-profit care homes in Canada.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh went even further. Before the October 2021 federal election, Singh said an NDP government would end for-profit long-term care. He also said for-profit long-term care homes were the scenes of the "worst conditions" during the pandemic.

"We would work with provinces and territories to accelerate making sure there is no more profit-driven delivery of care,” Singh said. “We need it to be publicly-delivered. We know the evidence is clear — when it’s public, when it’s not for profit, there are better outcomes, people are better off (and) we save lives."

From the 2020 PressProgress.ca analysis of Canada's four biggest for-profit care home chains (Chartwell, Extendicare Inc., Revera and Sienna Living): "Despite holding life-and-death decision-making power over tens of thousands of elderly Canadians, the country’s biggest for-profit nursing home chains are largely dominated by corporate directors with no real medical expertise."

From the British Medical Journal (The BMJ) article, The world expected more of Canada (July 24/23): "A particular disgrace is Canada being at the top of wealthy nations for covid related deaths in care homes for older people, despite more than 100 reports foreshadowing a nursing home crisis. In much of the world, covid-19 exacerbated existing inequalities. But it is no less an indictment that an abundantly wealthy country’s response to a public health emergency failed to protect its most vulnerable citizens."

Here's a snapshot from 2022 to drive home the point: On Feb. 2, 2022, the NIA Long-Term Care COVID-19 Tracker listed 16,217 COVID-19 deaths, plus 32 staff deaths across Canada.

Would the Canadian media and the Canadian public have reacted differently if those 16,217 COVID-19 deaths were children, and the 32 staff deaths were 32 school teachers?

Do provincial and territorial premiers, health ministers and health officers consider those who died of COVID-19 while in care homes to be acceptable collateral damage?

David Buckna, Kelowna

More Letters to the editor


Castanet Classifieds


The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author. Castanet does not in any way warrant the information presented.

Visit our discussion forum
for these and other issues.

Previous Stories