Crisis in home care; Snowboarders fight for refunds: CBC's Marketplace cheat sheet

CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need from the week.

Consumer and health news you need from the week

Robert Foreman says it was ‘much better living at home’ after a severe stroke, but Paramed, the home-care company contracted to help, didn’t deliver, so he has to live in a nursing home. (Submitted by Willie Foreman)

Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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Home care failed her husband in his final days. It's failing thousands of other Canadians, too

Nearly one million Canadians rely on some sort of home care support, but a Marketplace investigation has found a shroud of secrecy around for-profit companies' use of public funds.

Across the country, home care is publicly funded, but how it's delivered varies widely. B.C., Saskatchewan and the territories deliver public home care themselves. All other provinces also contract private companies.

Ontario issues thousands of contracts to home-care providers to deliver services to about 700,000 people — some companies are not-for-profit, but the majority and biggest players are largely for-profit companies. 

Critics say the broken system is providing substandard care — and sometimes no care at all — for those most vulnerable. 

That was Maxine McLean's experience when her husband was sent home from an Ottawa hospital in February 2020 for palliative home care to be provided by Bayshore Home Care.

She told Marketplace that in the six weeks leading up to her husband's death, much of the care that Bayshore promised was downloaded onto the family — and twice, nurses didn't come for more than a week, including in the eight days prior to his death.

Perhaps most traumatizing, she said, was Bayshore's expectation that her daughter — a nurse — would have to personally administer medication to ease her father's transition to death.

"She's crying," said McLean. "She says, 'Mom, I just can't.' I was in sheer and utter shock."

Public health care advocate Natalie Mehra said that's not surprising. 

"People [leaving hospital] are promised the sun and the moon," she said. "And they get home and no home care materializes."

Marketplace repeatedly requested an interview with Bayshore but were directed to Home Care Ontario, the association that represents Bayshore.

They said the industry is in a staffing crisis but did not address the McLean family's concerns. Read more

Family left on its own to deliver palliative care

1 year ago
Duration 2:18
Mike McLean was supposed to receive palliative home care from Bayshore Home Health, but his wife Maxine McLean and son Trevor McLean said much of that care was downloaded onto the family. Home Care Ontario, responding on behalf of Bayshore, said the industry is in a staffing crisis but didn't address the McLeans' concerns.

Travelling abroad? You'll no longer have to show proof of a negative COVID test before coming home

One of the biggest remaining hurdles for fully-vaccinated travellers entering Canada will be removed at the end of the month. 

The federal government announced Thursday that it will be removing the testing requirements at airports and land border crossings starting April 1.

Currently, travellers entering the country must show proof of a negative antigen or molecular test prior to their flight or arrival at the border.

The move comes two years into the pandemic as travel picks up and provinces and territories end restrictions involving vaccine passports, gatherings and masks. Read more

Travellers walk through Pearson airport in Toronto on Dec. 16, 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

They were promised refunds. Instead, seniors are still waiting on $15M from a failed development

More than 120 people waiting on roughly $15 million tied up in deposits they paid on a failed seniors complex development will have to wait even longer for their refunds after the group behind the project was granted creditor protection.

Trinity Ravine, which is affiliated with Pentecostal church Global Kingdom Ministries, sold buyers on a community that would help them live independently with programming, social activities and tailored amenities in Scarborough, Ont.

But construction on the two-tower, 605-unit "55-plus Christian lifestyle community" never began, and the parking lot where it was supposed to be built next to the church remains empty.

When some life-lease purchasers told CBC News last December they were having trouble getting their deposits back, Trinity Ravine promised refunds by mid-January.

But with the organization now going through Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) proceedings, they'll now have to wait at least another five months for their refunds. Read more

Lisa Lyn holds up a letter she received from Trinity Ravine about the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) process. She paid a $116,000 deposit for a penthouse for herself, her mother and grandmother to live in. (Angelina King/CBC)

Skiers, snowboarders complain of refund headaches with Vail Resorts

More than two dozen people from inside and outside British Columbia have contacted Go Public to complain about their experiences with the American company that owns Whistler Blackcomb and its so-called Epic Coverage refund policy.

Vail Resorts described the policy to Go Public as "a complimentary refund policy that provides refunds across a range of qualifying personal events (i.e. job loss, injury and illness) and qualifying resort closures (i.e. closure as a result of COVID-19)."

But for snowboarder Trevor Purvis, who could no longer use his ski pass after fracturing his right femur, making good on Vail's "epic" coverage was easier said than done. 

According to the policy's terms and conditions, Vail pass holders are entitled to a refund for personal injury if that "injury prevents you from using your pass for 30 or more consecutive days."

Although Purvis says it took him months to even be able to walk without crutches, it wasn't until Go Public contacted Vail that he finally received his refund. 

"It's vindication, but it's also like, this is silly. Nobody should have to do what I did to get 340 Canadian dollars," he said. Read more

Trevor Purvis is one of more than two dozen people who wrote to Go Public about refund woes with Vail Resorts, the American company that owns Whistler Blackcomb. He received a refund after Go Public contacted Vail. (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

What else is going on?

Canada's inflation rate now at 30-year high of 5.7%
It's the highest the rate has been since August 1991.

Ontario to table legislation making PSW wage increase permanent: Ford
Wage increase for health workers is currently set to expire on March 31.

Metaverse real estate sales boom as businesses try to stake a claim in a 'risky' virtual world
Rewards could be high, but so are the risks in hyped-up digital landscape.

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Andrew Sampson is a journalist with CBC in Halifax.

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