Let’s Fix It by Tom Black

Tom Black

Well it has been a very sad first third of 2020 around the world, as the COVID -19 virus has destroyed the daily lives of countless people and caused the death of so many of our loved ones. It’s especially sad that our grandparents and parents were trapped in confined centres that were supposed to protect them from the dangers of living in the general population. It is probably unfair to lay the blame on any one person or department or even government, for how this tragedy developed in the many care homes.

There is blame however, and if we do not address the reasons for the failure, then these precious lives have been lost in vain. Let us try to address as many of the pitfalls as we can, before we are faced with another and maybe worse, scenario.

A good place to start is with the World Health Organization (WHO). We must denounce this organization and join with many other countries to demand that it is completely revamped and the voting-in of its members is not controlled by countries such as Communist China. An early warning of the aggressive nature of this virus could have given us time to defend the most vulnerable. We also should never again allow our country to be held hostage for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). According to Global News, China bought up 2.5 Billion pieces of PPE, starting in January. On top of that, our Canadian government sent 16 Tonnes of PPE to China leaving our doctors and nurses to have to wash and re-use their own PPE to get by and leaving our caregivers at the Long-Term facilities with no protection.

We all need to reassess where we shop and what we buy and maybe refuse to buy anything made in China even if it is half the price. Think of the price that this pandemic has had in lives and the economy. If we change our shopping habits, big corporations that have slipped into bed with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be forced to manufacture their wares in other countries or go out of business.

To do that, one of the problems that must be fixed is the labeling of products sold in Canada. At one time, it was the law to label where products were made or produced. Now they are often labeled “Packed For” some North American sounding company and no country of ORIGIN is to be found.

The other problem that must be addressed is the fact that care givers are working at several care homes on a part-time basis. This was created by labour and accounting laws that let employers hire part-time workers for under 30 hours/week and in turn, do not have to pay any number of employment benefits. Not all employers pay all these benefits but here is a list of some of these potential costs:

  • Health Insurance, Retirement Plans,
  • Stock options, Paid time off, Education expenses,
  • Child care plans, Fitness stipends

To level the playing field, it should not be an advantage for these homes to hire many part-time staff which then forces workers to work in more than one care home.

I realize that there are no simple fixes, but one of the main jobs of government is to set the rules that companies must follow to do business. That applies to rules for Long-Term care homes as well as to rules for what products companies can import. This is often at the expense of our home-grown businesses, which have to compete against products produced by workers in dismal work conditions around the world.

We owe it to those who have paid the price for our failures, to fix as many of these weak links in the chain that protects our security, our health and our economy.