What We Have Done To Make A Difference
1. Our Petitions and Follow-up Actions to Enact Both Bill 33 and Bill 13
The majority of long term care residents cannot speak for themselves and need advocates. Our group, the Family Council Network 4 (FCN4) Advocacy Committee, was responsible for developing a Petition that was circulated throughout the province over the past 4 years. It was part of our on-going campaign to improve care for 80,000 residents in Long Term Care Homes. It asked the government of Ontario to fulfill the promises made in 2008 to improve care. Our Petition was been signed by over 30,000 Ontario citizens. The signatures included the names of: residents, family members, friends, Administrators and staff of LTC homes, provincial politicians and other citizens. It has been tabled in the Ontario Legislature 22 times (to date), by MPPs representing all provincial parties. We believe it was instrumental in motivating our legislative members to move Bill 33 through second reading. However this initiative died on the floor before the election.
Now it is time to take the next step - encourage our parliamentarians to do the right thing and Enact Bill 13, the new petition. You can help make a difference today by taking action now. Go back to the top of the Home page and follow the instructions to take action to help Enact Bill 13.
2. Our Letter Writing Campaign
Our loved ones deserve better. You can make a difference by joining our letter writing campaign targeting the government officials who make the decisions. Share an experience, relate a personal story and use the template that includes the recommendations endorsed by Family Council Network 4 (the largest group of Family Councils in Ontario) and the Ontario Health Coalition. See our Letter Writing Campaign.
At Conferences: Members of the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee have been involved in speaking at the St. Joseph's Villa, Dundas Fall Forums in both 2012, 2013 and 2014 as part of the Call to Action at the end of the program. The goal in each case was to mobilize the delegates at the forum to become involved in an advocacy role by using our Petition to garner signatures and to become involved in the Letter Writing Campaign. In 2015 and 2016, under the leadership of Advocacy Committee member Helga Henson, two very successful conferences were held different locations. Click to see the details.
Robert Gadsby, Chair of the LHIN 4 Family Council Network and Helen Benoit, a member of our Advocacy Committee held a news conference at Queen's Park on March 10, 2013 to voice concerns about the need for action on Long Term Care. The newsl conference was written up in the Toronto Star - View the picture and article.
In late August, 2015, Tom Carrothers, Chair of the FCN4 Advocacy Committee and Kelly O'Sullivan (CUPE) took the Time To Care Campaign to Orillia prior to the Simcoe North byelection. Read the article that was written in the Orillia Packet.
On October 1, 2015, Tom Carrothers, Chair of the FCN4 Advocacy Committee spoke at the Ceremony of Remembrance event commenorating the 10 year anniversary of the Casa Verde Inquest. Click here to check out the program and briefing notes.
On November 15, 2016, Tom Carrothers, Chair of the FCN4 Advocacy Committee was involved in a press conference with CUPE representatives dealing with Bill 33 Radio station CHML and the Hamilton Spectator were in attendance. Click on the link to see a copy of the report that appeared in the Spectator the following day.
On October 17, 2017 Tom Carrothers, Chair of the FCN4 Advocacy Committee, was in Peterborough, at a CUPE sponsored town hall meeting related Bill 33 as part of the CUPE Time to Care campaign where he spoke on our behalf and the residents in LTC.
On February 27, 2018 Tom Carrothers, a member of the FCN4 Advocacy Committee had 3 minutes to represent Family Councils in support of Bill 33 at Queens Park. As Carol Dueck, Chair of FCN4 Advocacy Committee said, "He was articulate, professional and passionate."
On April 24, 2018 Tom Carrothers, a member of the FCN4 Advocacy Committee and Grace Walsh, Chair of the Champlain Region FCNetwork spoke at the inaugural meeting of the Family Council Network of Trillium in Kingston where Dawn Harris is the Chair.
On February 25, 2019, Carol Dueck, Chair of FCN$ Advocacy Committee spoke at the CUPE Lobby Day breackfast meeting with MPPs. At the conference she made connections with a number of MPPs, with CUPE delegates and with other LTC representatives for across the Province.
4. Ontario Health Coalition
In 2013 we made a connection with the Ontario Health Coalition, we became a member and now have a seat on their Long Term Care Committee. Tom Carrothers is our representative on this provincial committee. which meets periodically to deal with province-wide issues related to Long Term Care. Other members on the committee include representatives from a wide variety of health professional groups and unions.
On April 15, 2108 on behalf of our Advocacy Committee, Chair, Carol Dueck signed The Joint Statement To Improve Access and Care Levels in Ontario's Long-Term Care Homes that was produced by the Ontario Health Coalition.
5. Rockin' Chair Campaign
Through our representative Tom Carrothers we were instrumental in helping to organize and conduct the Ontario Health Coalition's Giant "Rockin'" Chair Tour in May and June of 2014. Called "It's Time to Care", the tour made a presence in 28 cities in Ontario with significant media coverage just prior to the Ontario Provincial election. The theme of the tour was "Make time to care in Ontario's long-term care homes" and focused on two issues:
to set a minimum care staffing standard of 4-hours of hands-on care per day for each resident
to improve access to care & reduce wait times.
The media events featured a 10-foot tall rocking chair and press conferences with family councils, residents, seniors' groups, unions, nurses, careworkers, families and long-term care administrators. It was designed to help push for improved access to care and improved levels of care in Ontario's long-term care homes.
As you can see from the slide show, Tom represented our group and spoke at many of the town presentations. Other members of our group attended sessions in other cities.
The Campaign was conducted again beginning in June 2016. See the photo of Tom with others in Prescott on June 23rd. They were written up in the Prescott newspaper. Tom was quoted, "Every long-term care facility has family councils, or they may, and we are a committee representing a whole group of family councils and we are out advocating more time to care." We have family councils throughout Ontario and cover the province on behalf of family and friends."
6. Making Connections
Alice Steele met with new MPP Wayne Gates in this constituency office in Niagara Falls.
Also, Barbara James has met a couple of times with MPP Jim Bradley for St. Catherines. Frans Brinkman met with MPP Paul Miller and his staff to present some of our petitions to the Provincial Government. Also he and Helga Henson participated in his annual Seniors Day Fair.
On March 25th, 2014, Bob Gadsby, Tom Carrothers and Carol Adamson met with France Gelinas, MPP (NDP) for Nickel Belt. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the petition and the two letters the Advocacy Committee had sent to then Minister of Long Term Care Deb Matthews. We were encouraged by Ms. Gelinas to continue collecting signatures for the petition. She also was helpful in informing us of our rights regarding expectations of a reply from the Minister. Ms. Gelinas was very supportive of our cause and encouraged us to continue our work for all residents of long term care.
Members of the Network 4 Long Term Care Advocacy Committee were invited to participate and join CUPE to attend a MPP Breakfast and Lobby at Queen's Park on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. CUPE hosted a breakfast and invited MPPs to hear a short presentation by guest speaker Dr. Pat Armstrong, co-author of Promising Practices in Long Term Care Ideas Worth Sharing, to view the Time to Care Video and talk to members of CUPE and the Advocacy Committee concerning the need for 4 hours of hands on care to be the law in Ontario for Long Term Care. Following the Breakfast, members of CUPE and the Advocacy Committee had an opportunity to meet with MPP's individually throughout the day to inform the MPPs of the need for this bill and get their commitment to vote in support of Bill 188, the Time to Care Act.
With Other LHIN Family Council Advocacy Groups:
We have made connections with three other Advocacy groups in Ontario - one in Ottawa, a second in Kingston and the third other in North Bay to share information about activities that we are doing.
With the Committee Against Abuse of Older Persons(CAAOP) in Hamilton and also the City of Hamilton Elder Abuse initiative.
With The Public:
The Advocacy Committee attended MPP Paul Miller's 6th Annual Hamilton East - Stoney Creek Seniors' Fair on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at the Legion. FCN4 Advocacy members Helga Henson and Helen Benoit were there to answer questions regarding Long Term Issues and to promote the Petition as well as the Ontario Health Coalition Rocking Chair campaign for 2015. A great many citizens shared their stories and concerns. Both MP Wayne Marston and MPP Paul Miller are supportive of our recommendations for change and added their signatures to our petition. Helga Henson represented the Advocacy Committee at both Paul Miller's 7th Annual Hamilton East - Stoney Creek Seniors Fair in June, 2016 and again at his 8th Stoney Creek Seniors Fair in June, 2017.
On April 27, 2016, Helga Henson, a member of the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee attended the Hot Talks on Health topic of Caregivers presented by the Change Foundation. With the recent introduction of caregiver legislation in the UK, Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive, Carers UK gave a keynote address on the progress that has been made so far, and what lessons exist for similar efforts in Ontario, and Katherine Arnup, PhD, Family Caregiver and Author, gave remarks regarding caregivers here in Ontario. Katherine, herself was a caregiver for her Sister, Mother and Father and has written a book entitled “I don’t have time for this” A Compassionate Guide to Caring for Your Parents and Yourself. Seen in the picture is Cathy Fooks, The Change Foundation, Katherine Arnup, Helga Henson, and Helena Herklots.
7. Letters To Minister of Health and Long Term Care
Following a response to our petition by then Minister of LTC Deb Matthews, the Advocacy Committee was not satisfied that our concerns had been addressed. On November 13, 2013 we sent a detailed letter to the Minister addressing those concerns and urging her to act. No reply was received.
On March 26, 2014 another letter was sent to the Minister, reiterating our concerns and requesting a response. At the time the provincial election was called, we had received no reply.
Alice Steele meets with MPP Wayne Gates ...from the Niagara Advance
Frans Brinkman at MPP Paul Miller's Seniors Day 2015 Fair
Paul Miller Helga Henson
Helen Benoit Wayne Marston
at Paul Miller's 2015 Seniors Fair
Rockin' Chair Campaign -Tom in Prescott on June 23, 2016
At the CUPE MPP breakfast and Lobby
Helga Henson with Paul Miller
at his 2016 Seniors' Fair
Helga Henson with Paul Miller at his 2017 Seniors' Fair
On May 10, 2017 Carol Adamson, a member of the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee attended the Caregivers Resource Fair 2017 at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington to provide information about our committee to those in attendance.
On June 24, 2017 Helga Henson represented the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee at Sackville Seniors Wellness Fair, Hamilton where she met with the local MPP Scott Duvall.
On July 4, 2017 Andrea Horwath, Paul Miller and Monique Taylor of the NDP held a round table discussion at the Spectator in Hamilton. There were 19 family members present including including Helga Henson and Jim Lamont from our Advocacy Committee. (see below)
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced her plans for a complete public inquiry into the state of seniors long-term care in Ontario – not only into the circumstances that led to eight residents in care homes being killed; but an investigation into staffing levels, funding and safety conditions in care homes today.
On February 7, 2019 Brenda Cowen, a member of the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee spoke at a news conference in Simcoe in support of the Ontario Health Coalition report "Situation Critical: Planning, Access, Levels of Care and Violence in Ontario's Long-term Care."