Advocates, union question new job category for Ontario long-term care homes

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Long-term care advocates and unions are raising concerns about Ontario's plan to introduce a new job category to help with staffing shortages in long-term care homes, saying the new workers won't have the skills or training to deal with the complex needs of residents.

Premier Doug Ford's government launched a recruitment blitz earlier this week to attract people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic to work in long-term care homes.

The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly and Canadian Union of Public Employees say the new ``resident support aides'' will put both the workers and the vulnerable seniors they serve at risk.

Jane Meadus, a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, said while homes are facing a staffing crisis, this is not the right solution.

``To bring in untrained workers without any knowledge of health care, without any knowledge of infection control, and sort of just releasing them into homes, I think it's going to be quite disastrous,'' she said.

The Ministry of Long-Term Care said it is targeting retail and hospitality workers who may have lost their jobs during the pandemic and students to fill the new job class.