Re: Toronto Star headline: Ontario to consider co-payments, based on income for home care services, currently provided at no cost to provincial seniors.

Deb Matthews comments: “We need to have a discussion of what is fair.” Well Deb Matthews has misspent money from the Ontario Tax Payers for Ornge, Ehealth, and worse than any dollars mentioned, has been the abuse, neglect and persecution pushed upon the vulnerable seniors in their own homes.

Let us have an open, fair discussion about the abuse of the CCACs, and not the propaganda they spew to seniors.

Firstly, 80% of every health home care dollar is funneled through Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINs). Then we have Community Care Access Centres (CCACs), the great overseer and abuser of service, and ultimately the seniors who are supposedly the recipients of 20% of every dollar directed for home health care, while the service provider of this system, the PSW, is another victim in the Drama Triangle of Home Health Care.

Ms. Matthews is now trying to sell the victim on yet another false scheme of the Ontario Government.  In the study of delivery of this service, let us look carefully at the wages of the LHINS, CCACs and the Contractors in our communities. You will find an abuse triangle with a vortex that is sucking the life out of seniors desperate to have care in their home. The worst offender of this home care Agency, the third in line for the 80% miss-spending, is the Red Cross. It is not enough that we woke up too late on the tainted blood issues, but now that we are going to have people die at the hands of their NO service providers.

Veterans Affairs have a long history and solid reputation of delivery of home care service to the ones who have served our country. The model works here in Ontario, and there are other versions of direct service to people who need and require assistance to live in a humane fashion in Ontario in 2013.  The system of Deb Matthews, the Health Minister, has created a Bermuda Triangle, known by some as the Devil’s Triangle. The highly paid CCACs and AGENCIES are operating like the Indian Chiefs, with huge salaries and no accountability or transparency.

On New Year’s Eve, I was asked if I could help a senior lady who is partially blind, disabled from childhood, suffers from a loss of hearing, loss of teeth, and loss of caregivers. She was supposedly being cared for by nurses provided by Red Cross, and later Care Partners, bought by the Red Cross.  I found a small shell of a human being, fighting for her life from a couch set up in her living room where she has laid full time for three years. She has been left in her own excrement, urine, and without even a hair shampoo or personal sponge bath for days, three and four at a time. The nurses, doctors, and personal support workers have all been pulled from caring for this woman, even though she has battled and won a decision from a tribunal instructing the CCACs, Red Cross and Care Partners that they must provide her with 4 hours of service a day. Who is watching? There is no accountability in this system.

If an agency, a government body, or an individual abused or neglected a child or an animal in this fashion, they would be convicted of a crime. This is a criminal activity.

Would someone please take this story and put it on the news, and in the hands of the opposition and health critic, Christine Elliott.

These people in the caring industry should be shamed into action or removed from positions of leadership.


NEGLECT, ABUSE, AND DISCRIMINATION SHOULD NOT BE THE INDUSTRY STANDARD FOR HEALTH CARE. The liberal provincial government has failed the elderly seniors.

Asking Seniors to pony up more dollars to fund a broken and highly needed investigation of CCACs and Red Cross deliverers of NO CARE is not the answer. I object. The humane society for animals would get better action than what this health care system has done for Josie.


PSWs: Do You Need Professional & General Liability Insurance, Even if You are Working in a Nursing Home as an Employee or Contracted Employee?

It has recently been brought to the association’s attention that Ontario Nursing Homes are managing/reducing their risk by transferring the onus of liability to the PSW by way of the employment contract. ALL PSW’s NEED TO MANAGE THEIR RISK IN THE DELIVERY OF CARE, EITHER IN A NURSING HOME OR IN THE COMMUNITY, AS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR.

The transferring of the liability from the employer to the PSW can be done through your employment contract. Clauses which mention terms such as hold harmless or waiver of subrogation, could act in your favour or against you. When reviewing your contract you should pay particular attention to these clauses and understand completely if you are signing something in your favour or not.

The following is an example of how this could unfold:

  1. A PSW is hired by a nursing home, and in delivery of care to an elder resident of the nursing home, accidentally pushes the resident in their wheelchair without the foot stirrups in place. This results in the resident breaking a bone in their foot.
  2. The family of the resident sues the nursing home for negligence. Since the PSW had signed an employment contract with the nursing home, which contained clauses regarding the onus of liability, the nursing homes insurance carrier finds that the PSW should be responsible and they launch a lawsuit against the PSW for the amount of the suit.
  3. If the PSW operates as an individual, their personal assets could be seized and bankruptcy could occur.
  4. If they obtained their own insurance, this protects their interests and provides peace of mind that the personal assets they have worked so hard for will not be taken from them.

As a benefit to our membership we have been able to secure a provider of Commercial General Liability & Professional Liability for Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers. The cost is approximately $120.00 a month, but varies depending on the volume of work you perform. If your employer wants you to accept the liability while in their employ then you should consider negotiating increased compensation to accommodate this cost.

Finally, to practice what we have been preaching, neither MacDowell Insurance Brokers Limited, nor CCS, nor Gail Acton will accept any responsibility or liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage (including consequential losses) which may be sustained by any individual and/or firm and/or organisation (whether incorporated or not) as a result of acting on any of this advice!

For more information, and to receive a no obligation quotation, please contact Paul Robertson of MacDowell Insurance Brokers Limited at 1-877-501-4646.


The Coming Student Debt Crisis

CNBC has created a new original program about the high levels of student debt in the United States. Though CNBC views the problem from an American perspective, Canada's college students are also spending more than ever before on education.

Growing student debt is a problem that affects all of us. For more information about the program, visit


Senior Care: It's Time to Wake Up

Society, nursing homes, governments, the Ministry of Health, families and communities must stop hiding their heads in the sand. The latest Toronto Star investigation of long term care, funded by the Ministry of Health with our tax dollars, needs to be exposed, says Gail Acton, the Director for the National Association of Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers. These issues and stories by The Star have been examined and re-examined by Ministry people who claim they are shocked at behaviour resulting in abuse and neglect in the nursing homes.  This abuse and neglect is not just happening in nursing homes, it is also in our communities with our CCACs and LHINs, all overseeing the behaviour with systems in place that make it impossible to call out the abuse and neglect by government and private run homes, community agencies funded by CCACs, and working with Red Cross front line workers called PSWs.

Shame on you, Health Minister Deb Matthews. Your Ministry has been told repeatedly about the abuse in the homes, community, nursing homes and retirement homes. Who has been telling you are the Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers. You are part of the culture of secrecy that creates the serious problems. I have been to your task force with a so called commitment to change the way our seniors receive care. When the PSW reported the stories to your Ministry, through the HPRAC determination of standards for front line health care workers, they were ignored. We shocked them then with diapers not being changed, and seniors not being cared for in government regulated homes. Also reported was how frail elderly clients could not report the behaviours of ill trained PSWs, in case they would be denied services from a CCAC that hired overpaid nurses who could not schedule or give client care themselves.

The Ministry of Health makes a deal with unions and the Ministry of Education and Training to impose standards that do not cover adequate training for PSWs, and then like all abuse perpetrators blames the victims. They ask people to participate in creating a registry of PSW workers, after over 5 years of effort to educate them on the necessity of a registry and ongoing training and certification of PSWs through the National Association of Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers. After five years they pass it off to another side show, funded by the association of provincial unions to create a registry of the front line health care workers with conspirators that have no interest in the care of the elderly, until it affects their political appointments or their own frail elderly parent.

Matthews acknowledged that the residents' personal stories had a powerful impact. The investigation also found that residents are limited to one diaper per eight-hour shift in some homes. That is “not acceptable care,” Matthews said. “I can tell you, the people who came today are as appalled as I am,” she said. Well we had these same issues presented to HPRAC and they were appalled as well. Did it change anything?

The fastest way to create change, Matthews said, is for families and staff to report every example of abuse or neglect to the ministry's complaint line. You expedite work to develop a registry and ignore standards for PSWs, an unregulated worker which proves that creating change does not trump making a plan of action with the people on the front lines. Contact the National Association of Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers for more information on how this government needs to address the front lines at the bottom of the pyramid. We have been trying to do this with the government for years. The change has been a long time coming. The road to abuse is paved with good intentions by all members of our society.

Your Ministry is also looking at a standard of curriculum for the Personal Support Workers. Presently you have approved course content from the National Association of Career Colleges, and the OCSA. It is our contention that neither of these examples is of a quality to ensure that the PSWs are sufficiently well trained. We offered our curriculum as a third and preferred alternative, because it contains a Module on Human Relations and places emphasis on Anatomy, Physiology and Disease Process. Those additions are truly important, especially in the community model, but also necessary in all aspects of the work of PSWs.


80 Percent of Funding Goes to Bureaucracy

Ontario’s home care system is too bureaucratic, with too much public funding going towards administration and case management costs. "As little as 20% of the funds actually go to front-line service workers" says Gail Acton of the National Association of Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers.

Public funds are transferred through multiple levels of administration before any money reaches the front lines of care. A fifty five year old mother of two married daughters, who will remain anonymous, has recently been trying to cope with the palliative care needs of her 80 year old mother. She was told by CCACs to just keep her head above water, and was asked repeatedly to call the CCACs if she needed anything. Assurances were given that the CCACs could be of help, yet out of the other side of their mouth, they were telling her that she had maxed out all of the available care services. In response, the daughter said "I am not trying to keep my head above water, all I am trying to do is keep my mother above the ground!"

Does anyone care out there? These CCAC employees are making big dollars to sit around and talk about what they can do. Their website appears helpful, but they show their true colors when you actually ask them to do anything.

There are 14 Community Care Access Centres spending $500 million a year for administration and impression management.  There are few within this system who seem concerned about the damage created from care that is too little, too late. The CCACs have 700 contracts with provider agencies that employ the heathcare workers. These workers include nurses who visit and make assessments without taking any action, leaving Personal Support Workers to attempt to fill in the gaps in service for clients. The PSW is battling unorganized and overpaid nurse supervisors who can neither schedule or care about what happens to the client. The CCACs do not care about this overburdened woman who is trying to assist her mother and allow her to pass away with dignity and decency.

The competitive bidding process that takes place every three years leaves the PSWs with lower salaries, patch work scheduling and fewer client hours. As a result, there is improper service delivery and inconsistent care. The supervisors still get paid their full rate, in spite of the fact that they downsize the number of care hours for an 80 year old woman with a colostomy. She wants to stay in her own home rather than moving to a nursing home, but with her limited financial resources, she has to rely on the services of agencies who are caught in the downward spiral of bidding and lowballing eachother for contracts.

Due to inefficient restructuring by the provincial government, aging at home now means begging for care. Jobs for supervisors are created, but no additional care is provided.  The home care funds pass from the Ministry of Health to Ontario's 14 local health integration networks (LHINs, which oversee the delivery of care). This is not good, as we now have new overseers overseeing the poor planning and unfair distribution of care.  There is now an additional level of oversight as the overseers of the agencies oversee the front line health care worker.  Taxpayers are footing the bill for an unorganized, incompetent health bureaucracy who has no interest in doing anything beyond their 9-4 office hours. God help you and your family if you do not die suddenly and quickly. Is anyone listening out there? Does anyone care?