In the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than two-thirds of Canadian deaths occurred in long-term care facilities. This experience is a clarion call: if we do not act now, the failings exposed by the pandemic will continue to take their toll on the lives of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.
There have been calls for the federal government to play a stronger role in the long-term care sector, but this is complicated by the fact that this is an area of provincial jurisdiction. Nevertheless, governments could bring new resources and regulatory tools to these challenges by drawing on the untapped possibilities of Canadian federalism.
In this IRPP webinar, Carolyn Tuohy explored her recent research on the role of federalism in the Canadian long-term care system, in which she argues that the most promising path lies in areas of concurrent jurisdiction, namely, old age security and immigration. In these areas both orders of government have an established presence, a history of joint decision-making and action, and the infrastructure that makes this possible. She was joined for the webinar by commentators Daniel Béland and Michel Grignon. The moderator was Paisley Sim.
This was the second in a series of IRPP webinars examining policy options and priorities for Canada’s governments to keep long-term care reform near the top of their post-pandemic agenda. The webinar series is accompanied by “Kick-starting Reform in Long-Term Care,” a feature series of articles published by Policy Options magazine.