The majority of Ontarians would pay higher taxes in order to fix the long-term care situation – as long as the extra money actually went to long-term care – according to a recent Angus Reid poll.
Almost half of Canadians now say they will do everything in their power to avoid entering long-term care themselves and to keep close family members out.
Angus Reid, a national not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation, released the results of a nationwide poll Monday on the public’s perception of long-term care homes in Canada.
According to Angus Reid, in Ontario, 60 per cent of respondents – 55 per cent nationwide – indicated they would be willing to pay higher taxes, or up to two per cent more, in order to fix the long-term care home system, as long as there were assurances that the revenue from the extra taxes actually went to long-term care. This was the highest level of support for higher taxes to fix long-term care in any province.
Forty-seven per cent of respondents nationwide said they will do everything possible to avoid themselves or a family member ever having to live in long-term care and 44 per cent said they “dread” having to live in a long-term care home.
Seventy-five per cent of respondents nationwide believe long-term care requires a “total overhaul,” but only 17 per cent think it will happen in the next five to 10 years.
Sixty per cent of respondents from Ontario said the federal government needs to be directly involved in creating standards for long-term care.
There were 1,503 Canadians surveyed, including 402 Ontarians.
Cassellholme Home for the Aged chief executive officer Jamie Lowery said it’s a very telling poll that 60 per cent of Ontarians would pay more taxes for long-term care.
He said that number is likely a lot higher in North Bay given the demographics.
“But if you have to go to long-term care, which 44 per cent of people would dread, they would like a better system, standards and care. This is why I keep fighting for Cassellholme,” Lowery said.
Mark King, vice-chairman of the Cassellholme board and a North Bay councillor, said the statistics point to the fact that private long-term care homes are not the answer.
“The public will not put up with that. However, the system needs an overhaul, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with this rebuild. We’re trying to solve this problem.”
Cassellholme is currently working through the financing arrangement for a planned $121.9-million redevelopment of the long-term care home.
The project would see 24 beds added to the 240-bed facility, including an Indigenous unit and beds for specialized dementia care.
As a condition for a loan, Infrastructure Ontario is requiring that Cassellholme’s nine member municipalities, including North Bay, guarantee the entire project cost, including the province’s portion of up to $65 million.
Several municipalities have rejected that proposal. Last week, the Cassellholme board voted to levy those municipalities that oppose the suggested financing plan and borrow, through Infrastructure Ontario, for those that do support it.