Canada: aged care residents make up almost 50% of COVID-19 deaths – local governments overturning workplace agreements and boosting staff wages

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An insight into the devasting impact that COVID-19 can have on aged care homes – and the solutions being devised to support staffing and residents.

In Quebec, data shows 60% of its 150 deaths have been in either seniors’ homes or long-term care facilities while 25% of its aged care homes have at least one confirmed case, The New York Times says.

In British Columbia, 68% of its 43 deaths have been in nursing homes, while in Alberta, 56% of its 26 deaths have been in care homes.

Canada has reported 17,897 cases of COVID-19 and 381 deaths in total as of Wednesday.

Local governments and providers have been forced to take radical steps as a result, with Ontario, its largest province, issuing an emergency order that provides long-term care homes more flexibility in staffing and recruitment, circumventing collective bargaining agreements that limit who can be hired and the use of volunteers, and redeploying inspectors to provide extra help.

In Quebec – which has almost 10,000 positive cases – the local government has raised wages for most health workers by 4% to 8% and announced on Tuesday it would deploy more nurses and doctors to care homes.

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