Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg MB –
Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, said his party will act immediately to implement strong new protections for Seniors in Manitoba to ensure they are safe, healthy, and that all reports of mistreatment and abuse are investigated by an independent office of a Seniors’ Advocate.
In July, the Auditor General of Manitoba released a shocking investigation into the Protection for Persons in Care Office (PPCO), which is responsible for receiving and investigating reports of alleged abuse or neglect. Even in incidents where caregivers were charged by police with criminal assault, the PPCO ruled that it was “unfounded for abuse” and the Director rewrote investigators’ reports.
The AG confirmed shocking allegations, including:
PPCO is concluding “unfounded for abuse” when victims are punched, slapped, kicked, or sexually assaulted.
Victims are waiting up to 3+ years for investigations to start, and;
PPCO is not publicly reporting statistics on investigations. They stopped reporting in 2016, the year the PCs were first elected
A Manitoba Ombudsman report into the PPCO from 2011 identified the same problem. As the AG noted, the province was aware of problems with the PPCO and did nothing for over a decade, under the NDP and PCs alike.
“The PPCO was supposed to protect patients and seniors, and it protected abusers instead. The NDP and PCs knew about the problem and did nothing to act, even when PPCO was ignoring cases of abuse that were so bad the police were involved,” said Lamont. “Manitoba Liberals are committed to strong new protections for Seniors in Manitoba, and improved care. This should never have happened, and we have to do everything we can to make sure it never happens again.”
Manitoba Liberals Committed to:
Providing Stronger Protections for Seniors, and ensuring seniors and their families have an independent advocate to turn to, Manitoba Liberals will create an independent office of a Seniors Advocate. The Seniors’ Advocate will have the power to take complaints and investigate on behalf of seniors and their families and report issues to the legislature. The Seniors Advocate will launch unannounced inspections of facilities to make sure they are compliant. Manitoba Liberal Cindy Lamoureux was the first MLA in Manitoba to propose the idea of a Seniors Advocate for Manitoba in 2016.
To improve seniors health, Manitoba Liberals will place nurse practitioners in care homes to provide a higher level of preventive care. Nurse Practitioners can perform many duties and assessments comparable to physicians, including prescribing medications. Residents will see a significant improvement in the quality of care while preventing costly ambulance trips and visits to the ER and hospital.
To ensure better quality care in PCHs, Manitoba Liberals will improve staffing ratios. The need for more staff has been a recommendation of inquests since the 1990s, but no government has ever acted on it. We will increase staffing ratios to 4.1 hours of direct care per resident per day to make sure seniors get more attention and care.
To protect seniors from eviction, Manitoba Liberals will protect the future sale of affordable housing for seniors. We will prevent future sell-offs of seniors’ housing, like Lions’ Place, by bringing in legislation requiring the Minister to sign off on future sales. Manitoba Liberals commit to supporting affordable rents for seniors housing with current ownership.
In 2020, when Manitoba Liberal candidate for the Maples, Eddie Calisto-Tavares’ father tested positive for Covid in the Maples Care Home, she donned PPE and personally went in to care for him. Aside from residents, Calisto-Tavares was one of the only people present in Maples when Covid swept through the facility and 57 people died. Ever since, she has been a champion for the families who lost loved ones in that tragedy. The PPCO is responsible for an investigation into the deaths. “Seniors matter! We have to invest in the residents and the workers that are providing care of older adults in Manitoba. We must put quality of care ahead of profits,” said Manitoba Liberal Candidate for the Maples Eddie Calisto-Tavares. “The government needs to learn from past failures and ensure the highest level of care and safety for residents. They have been ignored for far too long.”
MLA for Tyndall Park Cindy Lamoureux and Manitoba Liberal candidate for the Maples both spoke at the announcement about the importance of these initiatives.
“The PCs and the NDP have already shown Manitobans they will not deliver basic care for Seniors who helped build our province,” said Lamoureux. “We need a non-partisan Senior's Advocate where seniors and families can turn to when facing issues within facilities, homecare, home repairs, transportation, and other issues that have been ignored for decades.”