Thursday, May 28, 2020

New poll shows almost universal support for including long-term care under Canada Health Act

After three months of daily news about the COVID-19, we are seeing the major impact the pandemic is having, not only on people's lives and work, but also on how they see the country moving forward. Canadians clearly want to see changes made to the way our long-term care system works.
A national poll, commissioned by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) – of which the New Brunswick Union is a member – and conducted by Abacus Data, found:
• 90 per cent of Canadians are aware of the deaths in long-term care facilities.
• 86 per cent of Canadians are in favour of bringing long-term care facilities under the Canada Health Act. Only two per cent of Canadians oppose this idea.
• 81 per cent of Canadians want to see the federal government invest whatever money and resources are needed to rebuild health care and other public services that were previously cut/minimized.
• 78 per cent support increasing funding for long-term care.
"This poll backs up what we've been saying," says Larry Brown, NUPGE President. "These numbers show clearly what Canadians want from the government.
No matter where Canadians live, how much money they make, if they care for elderly parents, or who they vote for, people want to see further investment in long-term care and health care, and not cuts.”
Though the issue crosses generational lines (80% overall), older Canadians 45+ are particularly supportive (85%) of the federal government investing whatever money and resources are needed to rebuild health care and other public services that were previously cut/minimized. The provinces with the highest levels of support for this increased investment are British Columbia (87%), Ontario (80%) and Quebec (82%).
Canadians earning under $50,000 showed the highest level of support but people earning over $100,000 indicated strong support for the idea as well (81%).
"Governments considering austerity measures as we transition to a new reality should be paying attention. Canadians will no longer put themselves or their families' health at risk."
"We are seeing people looking for serious, permanent changes to avoid the tragic results that we've seen over the last several months. They want to ensure we never go back to the way things were before the outbreak. And they see the federal government playing a significant role in fixing our system of health care."
"Moving long-term care under the Canada Health Act will provide Canadians with the national standards and public accountability that has been lacking for decades," said Brown. "Governments have no right to ignore such strong public opinion on this issue.”
NUPGE first issued a letter to the Prime Minister on April 17, 2020 calling on the federal government to extend the provisions of the Canada Health Act to include long-term care.
The survey was conducted by Abacus Research, with 1,800 Canadian adults between the dates of May 14 to 18, 2020. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.29, 19 times out of 20.