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Bill 124 puts long-term care homes at the mercy of private interests

February 14, 2023

GUELPH — Ontario Greens leader and MPP for Guelph Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to reports that temporary staffing agencies are charging not-for-profit long-term care homes as much as $150 per hour for healthcare workers.

“It is deeply troubling to learn that temporary staffing agencies are taking advantage of the health human resources crisis by charging not-for-profit long-term care homes astronomical rates for badly needed healthcare staff.

In Ontario’s long-term care homes, 28 per cent of registered nurse positions are vacant and facilities have no choice but to turn to temp agencies. These agencies are free to charge whatever they want – often more than double the standard rate for a registered nurse – exploiting the situation for private profit and weakening care for Ontario’s seniors.

Years of poor pay, long hours and high stress have led many Ontario nurses to leave the profession or switch to higher-paid, lower-stress jobs with private agencies. Meanwhile, not-for-profit and municipal homes are unable to raise wages because of the caps imposed by Bill 124.

The Ford government has repeatedly tried to distract from the severity of the crisis with band-aid measures like temp workers that do not address the root problems.

Let’s be clear. Abandoning Bill 124 will have an immediate positive impact on long-term care facilities’ ability to hire and retain frontline healthcare workers and to provide high-quality, sustainable care.

And it will save the province millions of taxpayer dollars currently being spent on out-of-control agency fees.

Once again, Ontario Greens are calling on the Ford government to stop draining public resources by defending Bill 124 in court and to adequately invest in the resources our healthcare system needs.”