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Liberal government looking for input on new law to improve safety in long-term care

The federal government is looking for public input on new legislation to improve safety in long-term care, in the aftermath of the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on January 5, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The federal government is looking for public input on new legislation to improve safety in long-term care, in the aftermath of the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Liberals promised during their 2021 election campaign to table a Safe Long-Term Care Act after widespread COVID-19 outbreaks drew attention to the struggle many homes faced to provide basic care to residents.

The new legislation is also a condition of the Liberals’ supply-and-confidence deal with the NDP, in which New Democrats agreed to support the Liberals on key House of Commons votes until 2025 in exchange for movement on shared priorities.

Earlier this year, two panels of experts in the field of long-term care released new standards for improving health, safety and infection prevention in long-term care homes.

It’s not yet clear to what extent those standards will form the basis of the new legislation, or whether they will be enforced across the country.

The federal government says it plans to consult with long-term care residents and their families, members of the public, provinces and territories and experts before tabling the legislation in Parliament.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press