Posted on May 15, 2020

Lori Sigurdson, NDP Opposition Critic for Seniors and Housing, made the following statement regarding delays to the government’s health care aide wage top-up:

“Minister Tyler Shandro was very slow to recognize the deadly crisis developing in Alberta’s continuing care facilities, and his response to the crisis is quite literally too little, too late.

“Albertans have been horrified to see so many lives lost at McKenzie Towne in Calgary, Manoir du Lac in McLennan, and other facilities. These outbreaks were made much worse by a collapse in staffing levels driven by confusion around staffing rules, and inadequate pay to compensate workers for a high level of risk.

“It is appalling that Premier Jason Kenney's government waited for weeks to get its modest additional funding out the door, and that none of this money has actually reached the working Albertans who are putting themselves and their loved ones in harm’s way to provide frontline care. 

“This government has also failed to develop and implement a plan to keep staff working at a single site, more than four weeks after the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s order was supposed to be in place. Even if we take the government’s claim at face value, that 95 per cent of workers already comply, that still means hundreds of workers moving from site to site, while there are still 27 outbreaks in seniors’ residences.

“This government has failed seniors, their families, and workers during this COVID-19 pandemic. Albertans must have a public inquiry to get to the bottom of these failures and ensure they never happen again.”