Cross Country Meeting: Mobilizing Collective Action for Long-Term-Care Reform in Canada

Nov. 5, 2020

The lives of seniors matter. And nowhere is the demand for action and reform more urgent than in Canada’s long-term care (LTC) homes.

As COVID-19 has demonstrated, residents were largely forgotten as the virus swept through nursing homes during the past 10 months, claiming the lives of more than 5,000 seniors with the majority of those preventable deaths taking place in Ontario and Quebec.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) recognizes the need to turn such a tragedy into a call for action and change the future fate of residents in Canada’s nursing homes.

Building on the promise by the federal government outlined in its Speech from the Throne to work with provincial and territorial governments to create national standards for LTC homes and to support seniors to stay in their own homes longer, RNAO is organizing a cross country meeting to mobilize collective action. The virtual event – open to all – takes place this coming Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.

National standards are desperately needed. The 5,000 deaths in LTC represent more than 80 per cent of the total deaths across the country since the pandemic began. It’s a dismal statistic when compared to Canada’s counterparts in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The share of COVID-19 related deaths among nursing home residents in Canada is more than double that of other countries in the OECD (81 per cent for Canada compared with 37 per cent for OECD countries).

A national failure of this magnitude demands a national response. This is why the time has come to synergize efforts by bringing together like-minded leaders who are desperate to make a difference. The two-hour cross country virtual discussion will be moderated by Globe and Mail health columnist André Picard and features a distinguished list of experts.

The need to address systemic and long-standing failures in LTC such as insufficient staffing and resources has been known for two decades. It has become ever more urgent and impossible to ignore in the face of COVID-19 and the preventable death toll suffered by seniors. The anguish left by the losses among family members and staff is unimaginable. Now grappling with the pandemic’s second wave, the fear of further losses demands urgent policy and funding actions.   

RNAO’s Nursing Home Basic Care Guarantee reflects an emerging consensus of what is needed in nursing homes to ensure the health, safety and dignity of residents and to protect them from the ravages of COVID-19. Nurses also recognize the vital need of providing seniors and their loved ones with the home care and support services needed to remain in their own homes and age in place safely.

What: Cross Country Meeting: Mobilizing Collective Action for Long-Term Care Reform in Canada

Who: Members of the public and the media from across Canada who care about seniors and want to join in a collective effort to inspire provincial, territorial and federal governments to establish national standards for LTC and to take additional action to support seniors who wish to stay in their homes longer are invited to attend this virtual discussion. 

Moderator:    André Picard, Columnist, Globe and Mail and the author of a forthcoming book titled: Neglected No More: The Urgent Need to Improve the Lives of Canada’s Elders in the Wake of a Pandemic

Panelists include:

  • Nathan Stall, staff geriatrician at Toronto’s Sinai Health System
  • Doris Grinspun, RNAO CEO
  • Shirlee Sharkey, president and CEO, SE Health
  • Miranda Ferrier, national president, Canadian Support Workers Association
  • Linda Silas, president, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
  • Laura Tamblyn Watts, president, CEO CanAge

When:            Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 6:45 – 8:30 p.m. ET

Where:           Registration is required for this free, virtual event.

Members of the media can follow up with the media contacts listed below or register online. Please complete the registration form and an email confirmation will be sent to the email address provided. If you do not receive this email, please contact Melissa Aziz at

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Hashtag: #4Hours4Seniors


Contact info

Marion Zych
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)
Victoria Alarcon
Communications Officer/Writer
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)