Posted on Feb 1, 2021


EDMONTON - The Alberta NDP are demanding the UCP scrap their misleading Long Term Care survey, commissioned by MNP, because of its leading questions and framing which are clearly designed to justify further privatization in continuing care despite the many problems that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Questions in the survey are framed in ways that suggest the problem with continuing care is that there are limited opportunities to pay for services such as, better meals, “one on one companionship (eg. someone to sit and visit with a resident)”, and extra baths. Another question in the survey admits that Alberta is exploring how to redirect public funds to subsidize care at private-pay facilities not contracted by Alberta Health Services. There is nothing in the survey to discuss more public investment into improving public care.

“The UCP are manipulating this survey in order to justify their plan to make seniors and their families pay more out of pocket,” said NDP Seniors and Housing Critic Lori Sigurdson. “At the same time, they’ve left hundreds of millions of dollars on the table that should have gone directly to staff and residents in continuing care.”

Isabelle Ruth Emery has loved ones in continuing care and volunteers in a private facility. She was sent the survey and began completing it but soon had concerns about what she felt was bias and a politically motivated agenda in favour of further privatization and reduction in care. 

“I started to complete this survey believing it to be unbiased, but it quickly became apparent that it was designed to promote the two-tiered system being promoted by the UCP,” she said. “In their system, those who could pay extra would receive improved care while those who could not afford to pay more would continue to endure the substandard conditions currently present in long-term care, which have so shocked Albertans. 

“There is no mention in this survey of the need to improve publicly staffed and funded levels of care. I am disgusted that this survey was sent out without public acknowledgment of its partisan purpose.”

The Alberta NDP also renewed their call for a public inquiry into the over 1,000 deaths  of residents in continuing care from COVID-19.  

“So many people have lost loved ones in continuing care because of COVID-19 and they deserve answers and justice, not biased ideological surveys that threaten to further reduce quality care,” Sigurdson said.

The survey opened Jan. 4 and is due to close at the end of day Monday.