The Province’s decision to take over several long term care facilities in Southern Ontario has raised some eyebrows and cause for concern up in this region. Mushkegowuk-James Bay MPP Guy Bourgouin says you can take heart up here that our facilities, even though they have issues with the lack of beds and staff, they are doing okay.

“There is nothing to fear, even though there was some issues getting PPE at the beginning,” he said. “I think it was more of a system issue and solutions can always be found when it comes to that because the government says you can get PPE within 24 hours.”

Bourgouin adds that some long term care facilities in our region have a long wait time.

“There are places like Foyer Des Pionniers in Hearst where the wait time is three years,” said Bourgouin.

“I worked hand-in-hand with Sensenbrenner Hospital  in Kapuskasing to put forward a transition bed project that needed the help of the province.  This would have eased the pressure on the hospital while giving due care to seniors.

“Minister Fullerton has not followed up on this, and our elders here keep on waiting.”

Bourgouin says that the Kapuskasing area not having any COVID-19 cases has made a difference. He adds that the bigger issue is a possible second wave that could hurt staffing.

“We are concerned that should a second wave hit than it might be more of a staff issue at these facilities,” he said. “Some of the workers like PSWs don’t get paid the highest wage.  It’s hard to recruit and some that do come in don’t stay long and move on elsewhere.”

New Democrat Bourgouin says even though wages have been bumped  for front line workers, he doesn’t believe that all of them received it. He adds they’ve been pressuring the governments to make sure the wage increase is for everyone including PSWs.