As the pandemic continues, we took a step back to evaluate where the area of greatest need is when it comes to supporting frontline healthcare workers. We kept hearing about deeper systemic issues, such as poor working conditions for personal support workers. While to date our donations have focused on addressing immediate needs brought on by the pandemic, we also wanted to support those who have been addressing the systemic, more complex issues facing Canada's healthcare system.
The Ontario Health Coalition works to protect and improve our public healthcare system. Together with partners across the country, they work to ensure that the core principles of the Canada Health Act are upheld (such as no financial barriers, comprehensive health care, accountability & transparency, decent wages and working conditions for health care workers). their core values of equality, democracy, social inclusion, and social justice.
Throughout the pandemic, the Ontario Health Coalition has been an active voice of transparency and advocacy for sector. They were the first to collect and report data on outbreaks in long-term care homes. They commissioned a report in July highlighting the staffing shortages in long-term care facilities and the resulting horrific conditions faced by residents.
They consistently publish reports and insights on what is happening in the space and what government needs to do to address issues (such as this poignant recent article detailing the miserable conditions for workers in nursing homes before the pandemic, how they were exacerbated during, and how the government has made no changes to better prepare for a second wave).
They are advocating for critical changes in the sector, such as increased pay to ensure staffing levels increase, sick leave pay, regulating the use of temporary workers used to minimize the cost of employment, and establishing minimum staffing levels.
Like all sectors, public health is now facing the most extreme challenges and is straining under the pressure of having to find solutions to new and existing problems in an uncertain world. This is why The Home Front chose The Ontario Health Coalition as its 4th grant recipient.
They release and analyze public health reports, champion primary care, including home care, mental health care, and longterm care, and advocate for adequate funding for public health programs that affect everyone. We know that frontline healthcare workers are under a huge amount of strain since the pandemic began, and even before the COVID-19 crisis these were extremely intense jobs that often went under-appreciated, under-paid, and under-regulated, especially by people who rarely interacted with them directly.
At The Home Front, we're excited to announce a grant to the Coalition so they can work to ensure fair treatment and safe conditions for the frontline healthcare workers that are so crucial now and always.