British Columbia

Horgan unveils $1.4 billion plan to give elders in long-term care their own rooms

NDP leader promises a 10-year plan that would cost $1.4 billion to revamp elder care after the COVID-19 pandemic showed a vulnerability in the system for people living in care facilities.

Money would create new long-term care homes where people don't have to share rooms

NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

NDP Leader John Horgan says elders living in long-term care facilities in British Columbia deserve their own rooms.

He is promising a 10-year plan that would cost $1.4 billion to revamp elder care after the COVID-19 pandemic showed a vulnerability in the system for people living in care facilities.

"We can eliminate multi-room facilities in British Columbia," said Horgan during a campaign stop in Surrey.

"I believe seniors in their later years should have the dignity of one room with just them in it. That's the goal we're going to set."

Horgan says the NDP campaign platform for the Oct. 24 election will include more details of the party's plan on care homes, but he promised to put in new requirements for private operators and give care workers more money after the pandemic ends. 

The NDP leader said the pandemic has hit older people hard and the province must improve the way it cares for its oldest and most vulnerable citizens, going on to blame former B.C. Liberal government policies on staffing and administration for the system's failures.

"It's going to take us some time to make up for the backlog ... but I believe that's the cause worth fighting for."

Campaigning in Port Moody, Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson says long-term care workers need proper compensation but added he's skeptical of NDP promises because they turn out to be mirages.

As an example, Wilkinson says, the NDP's promise of daycare for $10 a day was a campaign slogan in 2017 that now is more of a pilot program.

With files from Justin McElroy

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