Seniors Advocate report spotlights huge service gap; red tape blamed for worker shortage

RICHMOND (June 19, 2019) – A  report released by Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie today indicates that the elderly in our province are not receiving adequate home support service despite the majority of seniors wishing to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. The report also finds that community health workers or family members, currently providing care to seniors, find themselves in severe distress because of the shortage of available help.

“Seniors in B.C. are experiencing a service gap because John Horgan and the NDP brought in harsh restrictions in 2018 that prevent many out-of-province community health workers from making an application to work here in B.C.,” said Seniors Care Critic and Richmond South Centre MLA Linda Reid. “There is a shortage of qualified care workers in B.C. and we need to recruit from other provinces in order to ensure our seniors get the quality care they deserve.”

The Seniors Advocate’s report indicates 82 per cent of clients with a distressed caregiver are only receiving an hour or less of home support per day on average. Furthermore, 75 per cent of staff are casual or part-time.

“The Seniors Advocate indicates that nearly 20 per cent of people in long-term care have needs that could be met at home. That’s a waste of resources when we could be providing more affordable care at home where most seniors would rather be,” Reid added. “But we can’t even meet current needs with all the red tape and obstacles John Horgan and the NDP have put in the way of recruiting more workers. We can address most of the concerns raised in this report if we had more qualified workers available.”

On Monday, the B.C. Care Providers Association issued a news release indicating it will file a formal complaint to the NDP government because it is employing unfair labour mobility practices preventing out-of-province workers from the rest of Canada from coming to B.C.

“Overnight respite care for caregivers is essential to provide relief, but with that unavailable for many, our province now has the second highest rate of distressed and exhausted care workers in the country,” concluded Reid. “Both seniors and caregivers deserve better.”

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