Saturday, July 31, 2021

How to Make Mulch - Make Your Own Mulch - Best Mulches

How to Make Mulch - Make Your Own Mulch - Best Mulches

Learn how to make mulch with organic materials from your garden and home for the best mulch. Wood landscape mulch, wood chip mulch, and leaves mulch

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Canada launches its first national vaccine injury compensation program

Canada launches its first national vaccine injury compensation program

A national vaccine injury compensation program, first announced in December 2020, was officially launched Tuesday, allowing Canadians who have experienced severe adverse reactions to an approved COVID-19 vaccine to apply for compensation.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Cream of Carrot Soup | Ricardo

Cream of Carrot Soup | Ricardo

INGREDIENTS


  1. In a saucepan, soften the onion in the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.In a blender, purée the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Landmark Agreement for Desert Control to Accelerate Climate-Smart Agriculture, Food Security, and Sustainable Forestry

Landmark Agreement for Desert Control to Accelerate Climate-Smart Agriculture, Food Security, and Sustainable Forestry

The agreement is the first deal of this kind for Desert Control and further proves the company's ability to generate revenue from its products and services. The deal's first stage is a pilot, where the parties will use Desert Control's Liquid Natural Clay ('LNC') on several Mawarid managed forests and...

Friday, June 4, 2021

Value Blueprints Research Brief Explores Patient-Driven Value Element Framework to Identify Factors Most Important to Patients

Value Blueprints Research Brief Explores Patient-Driven Value Element Framework to Identify Factors Most Important to Patients


The Innovation and Value Initiative (IVI), an independent, nonprofit research organization dedicated to advancing patient-centric value assessment, today released a research brief describing the application of a patient-driven value elements framework in identifying value elements important to patients...

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

AstraZeneca advice from national panel delayed by new data on COVID-19 and variants

AstraZeneca advice from national panel delayed by new data on COVID-19 and variants

Canada's chief public health officer says new information on COVID-19 and variants prompted the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to suddenly cancel its planned announcement on who should get the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Don’t be so quick to condemn processed foods

 

Don’t be so quick to condemn processed foods
Played an essential role in offering edible, safe and nutritious foods to all Canadians, yet food processing remains misunderstood

By Sylvain Charlebois
Professor in Food Distribution and Policy
Dalhousie University
 
Processed foods exist so we can save time, money and energy. They’ve made our food systems more efficient over the years. It’s all about convenience.
 
But in recent years, the health attributes of processed foods have increasingly come under scrutiny for a variety reasons, biased and unbiased. Many reports by professional organizations and interest groups have been unkind to processed foods, causing many consumers to believe that they should be avoided at all costs.
 
A fascinating study to be released in April, published in Trends in Food Science and Technology, looked at the underlying basis of the food classification systems used to determine what food is processed. Over 400 publications were screened for definitions of processed food.
 
The study argues that food classification systems used around the world, including in Canada, were mostly designed to examine the relationship between industrial food products and health.
 
The study shows clearly that there’s no consensus on what factors determine the level of food processing. In fact, the concept of ‘processing’ is considered by the authors of the study as a chaotic conception, largely concerned with technical processes.
 
While Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we stay away from ultra-processed foods, our classification system doesn’t include quantitative measures. Instead, it implies a correlation between industrial processing and nutrition. That’s right – there’s no direct relationship between processed food and their nutritional value.
 
The anti-ultra-processing pundits will be quick to indicate that those are the foods to be condemned and banned from the marketplace. This movement against ultra-processed foods is largely motivated by a classification system called NOVA.
 
The study didn’t provide any clarity or justification for the use of the NOVA system. The system looks at additives and other features associated with overeating, but it doesn’t include proper nutrient profiling and other formerly assessed nutritional aspects of food.
 
Food processing is a complex issue. Although it has played an essential role in offering edible, safe and nutritious foods to all Canadians, food processing remains largely misunderstood.
 
Based on the study, we can only assume that the rationale used by Health Canada to support Canada’s Food Guide and discourage Canadians from consuming ultra-processed foods aren’t well articulated or evidenced. The study argues that the subjective rhetoric often used by public health officials about nutrition is rather inappropriate for use in policy.
 
Processed foods have played an important socio-economic role in the last few decades. Some have argued that without processed foods, gender inequalities would be more predominant than they are now.
 
Knowing women have historically spent more time in the kitchen on average than men, women have been able to play a much larger role in our economy by having access to pre-processed foods. Many decades ago, most of the food processing occurred in the kitchen, accomplished largely by women.
 
More needs to be done on gender equality, of course, but food processing has certainly not been an obstacle to our quest to have a more equitable society. This shouldn’t be forgotten.
 
We need to make sure we avoid pompous misconceptions and properly educate ourselves on what food processing means. Many believe processed foods can only lead to a more obese and unhealthy society.
 
Certainly, some processed foods shouldn’t exist. But processing has a particularly important economic role within our food systems. It reduces waste across the supply chain and allows food costs to remain at reasonable levels for Canadians by using better technologies and knowledge.
 
In countries where access to technologies is limited, food waste and price volatility at retail tends to cause major challenges. Food processing provides stability across the food supply chain.
 
Instead of using guilt or value-laden terms, consumer understanding can only grow by appreciating the healthiness of food products we eat and buy every day.
 
The study simply recommends that we need to improve the scientific basis for food classification systems and to support consumer understanding.
 
Otherwise, ideology and nutritional elitism will continue to mislead the public and our policies will unceasingly misguide consumers in their food choices.
 
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.

Friday, April 2, 2021

How Canada botched its campaign for vaccines

 

How Canada botched its campaign for vaccines
The proven determinants of scientific progress – collaboration, a plan, guaranteed funding, transparency – are nowhere to be found
By Susan Martinuk
Research Associate
Frontier Centre for Public Policy
 
The Human Genome Project (HGP) stands as one of mankind’s most remarkable achievements. Its significance is easily equal to, or even eclipses, James Watson and Francis Crick’s discovery of DNA’s helical structure, or Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.
 
The goal was to determine the position and function of the more than 100,000 genes that comprise the 23 chromosomes of human DNA. It was a massive endeavour and the challenge was so overwhelming that it could only be accomplished by the global collaboration of scientists.
 
In 1990, a $5-billion publicly-funded plan was established under the auspices of national research councils in the United States and the United Kingdom. A 15-year timeline was set and the chromosome pairs were sectioned and sent to laboratories around the world.
 
The collaboration was a gamble that paid off in spades: the HGP was completed in 13 years (not 15) and at a cost of $3 billion (not $5 billion).
 
The group was led by Dr. Francis Collins, an American geneticist who is now head of the National Institutes of Health. Years ago, I heard him give a speech in which he jokingly (and probably quite rightly) referred to the HGP as the “only government project to ever be completed earlier than scheduled and under budget.”
 
The secrets to this multi-layered (financial, bureaucratic and scientific) success?
 
Collaboration. A plan. Guaranteed funding. Transparency.
 
So where are these proven determinants of scientific progress today?
 
We’re in a pandemic and, so far, there has been far more competition than collaboration in the race to create, manufacture and distribute enough vaccines to immunize all of humanity. As many as 23 vaccines have been approved by various countries and more than 60 others are in some stage of development or clinical trials.
 
A vaccine is, ultimately, the only solution to this pandemic. Former U.S. president Donald Trump may have eschewed masks, but his administration shifted $18 billion into a rapid vaccine development program called Operation Warp Speed. These funds have supported seven drug manufacturers, including $2.5 billion for Moderna Therapeutics and almost $2 billion for Pfizer. Perhaps that’s why these companies delivered some of the first, safest, most effective vaccines.
 
Instead of funding vaccine development, Canada’s leaders decided to pay “volunteers” by providing, without proper scrutiny, almost $1 billion to their ethically challenged friends at WE Charity and giving billions more to ensure the survival of almost every industry – except vaccine research and development.
 
This decision has not been without consequences.
 
Although Canada made agreements to obtain the most vaccine doses (more than four times our population) of any country, it has become abundantly clear that the big drug companies are in no hurry to deliver them, signed agreements or not.
 
In contrast, countries that pumped billions of dollars into research efforts (like the United States and the United Kingdom) began receiving their allotted doses long ago. While they’re quickly getting vaccines into arms, Canada is tumbling downward on lists that rank nations by the progress of their vaccine rollout.
 
To be fair, Canada did make an international contribution of $440 million to the World Health Organization’s vaccine partnership. Half of the money was to secure vaccines for us; the other half was to assist in creating a global vaccine cache for underdeveloped nations. But as our vaccine delivery schedules turned into a gong show, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided that Canada should dip into the global vaccine bank to withdraw vaccines that were set aside for the poor.
 
At home, attempts to fund the development of a Canadian-made vaccine were anemic and impractical, at best. Initially, just $23 million was provided for domestic vaccine research and payouts were capped at $5 million per group.
 
Later, $192 million was made available to vaccine manufacturers – but only as a reimbursement for expenses. That fund has only recently increased to $468 million. Such minuscule contributions, coupled with no money upfront, are not nearly enough to assist Canadian biotech companies in managing the financial risks of developing a vaccine.
 
Finally, most government decisions and contract negotiations have been conducted in secrecy. It was only recently that Canadians realized the federal government had, months ago, appointed a vaccine task force to advise on policy. Names were withheld from the public (until uncovered by the media), meetings take place in secrecy and details of contracts with private corporations are not released. Actions and decision-making on a national level have only been open and transparent if we pretend this is the Soviet Union, circa 1962.
 
Yet this is the group that apparently controls Canada’s pandemic destiny.
 
So much for collaboration. A plan. Funding. Transparency. Sadly, these proven characteristics of scientific progress are nowhere to be found in Canada.
 
Susan Martinuk is a research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and author of a soon-to-be-released book, Patients at Risk: Stories that Expose Canada’s Health-care Crisis.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Cheesy Polenta Lasagna with Meat Sauce

https://fb.watch/4zeAR8kgb4/ 


http://orsararecipes.net/cheesy-polenta-lasagna-with-meat-sauce?fbclid=IwAR3D1S4ygvF1zd0fm-lrng-kVrk149rYODPYa0g6NGBQg6YEkHWYUX9TXXU

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Ballooning sunshine list a slap in the face to taxpayers

 

A 10 per cent across-the-board pay cut for all government employees receiving over $100,000, would save taxpayers more than $2.5 billion

By Jay Goldberg
Interim Ontario Director
Canadian Taxpayers Federation
 
While most Ontarians were barely getting by during lockdowns, the bill for Ontario top bureaucrats ballooned in 2020.
 
There’s still 800,000 Ontarians looking for a job. So, it must be jarring for them to see Ontario’s sunshine list, which discloses the municipal and provincial government employees making more than $100,000 per year, increased by 23 per cent in 2020. Among those high government rollers, 74 made more than $500,000 last year.
 
So much for being all in this together.
 
As Ontarians struggled to pay their Hydro bills, six top bureaucrats at Ontario Power Generation raked in more than $800,000. The highest earner was the President and CEO who brought in $1.2 million. The total bill for these six bureaucrats was nearly $6 million.
 
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
 
While tens of thousands of Ontario’s children were kept home from school for months on end, the number of teachers making more than $100,000 still doubled to over 29,000.
 
More than a dozen hospital presidents and CEOs received half a million dollars or more.
 
Surely some of that money could have been used for tax relief or could have been sent to the front lines of the pandemic.
 
While Ontario’s government sunshine list grew, many workers outside of government lost their jobs, took pay cuts or saw their hours reduced substantially. There’s still nearly 75,000 Ontario businesses at risk of closing their doors for good, according to research from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
 
For those that suggest that these exorbitant government salaries may be warranted, government employees make more than 10 per cent more than their equivalent private-sector counterparts, according to the Fraser Institute.
 
Struggling families and businesses need relief and we can’t afford to pay more bureaucrats six-figure salaries while the province is locked down. If Ontario’s municipal and provincial governments implemented a 10 per cent across-the-board pay cut for all government employees receiving over $100,000, taxpayers would save more than $2.5 billion. Not only should Premier Doug Ford reduce government labour costs to relieve some of the burdens facing struggling taxpayers, but he’ll need to tackle this expense to pull the province out of its sea of red ink.
 
The provincial deficit is about $40 billion, and its debt is fast approaching the $400-billion mark. With labour costs making up half of the government’s pre-COVID-19 budget, Ford has little hope in balancing the books and paying down the debt unless he’s willing to take some air out of his government’s ballooning labour costs.
 
For unemployed Ontarians who saw the government sunshine list expand in 2020, the news must have felt like a harsh slap in the face.
 
Even if the government’s finances were in good shape, giving salary increases to government employees in the midst of an economic crisis is tone deaf. And Ontario’s finances are a mess.
 
It’s not fair to ask the tens of thousands of Ontarians who just lost their job or took a pay cut to pay higher taxes because government employees haven’t shared in the downturn. Governments need to address their labour costs and the first place they should start is at the top of the bureaucrat pyramid.
 
Jay Goldberg is the Interim Ontario Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Make Informed Decisions About Personal-Care Products w Our List of 7 Ingredients to Avoid.


 https://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/ingredients-to-avoid-zmfz12jazmel

Jubilant HollisterStier, Eli Lilly Enter COVID-19 Treatment Collaboration - Contract Pharma

Jubilant HollisterStier, Eli Lilly Enter COVID-19 Treatment Collaboration - Contract Pharma


Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd., an integrated global pharmaceuticals and life sciences company, recently announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Jubilant Pharma Limited, through its contract manufacturing organization (CMO) subsidiary, Jubilant HollisterStier LLC, has signed a new contract with Eli Lilly for manufacturing of a treatment for COVID-19.
 
Lilly’s drug, Bamlanivimab, has been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA for emergency use as a treatment of COVID-19 and will be manufactured at Jubilant HollisterStier’s Spokane, WA facility.
 
“We are delighted to partner with our customers and contribute towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pramod Yadav, chief executive officer, Jubilant Pharma Limited. “Our CMO business, an established player in the North American market, has strong capabilities in the manufacturing of sterile injectables—both liquid and lyophilization—and we are committed to continue exceeding expectations of our customers in this business.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Eli Lilly's COVID-19 antibody shows it can prevent the disease. But will doctors use it?

Eli Lilly's COVID-19 antibody shows it can prevent the disease. But will doctors use it?

Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab was the first antibody drug the FDA authorized to treat COVID-19. Now, the Indianapolis pharma has data showing the therapy prevents symptomatic infections. The catch? The data are limited to long-term care facilities, where vaccination is now underway—and despite their utility, antibodies are having a tough time catching on.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Policy uncertainty continues to hurt Canada’s mining industry

 

To attract the investment required to develop resources, mitigating the risks of policy uncertainly needs to be a top priority

By Jairo Yunis
and Elmira Aliakbari
The Fraser Institute
 
The COVID recession has hurt Canada’s natural resources sector, with supply disruptions, commodity price declines and greater uncertainty regarding future demand. Not surprisingly, capital investment in the Canadian mining industry has dropped to its lowest level since 2009.
 
Of course, business investment should be a key pillar of Canada’s economic recovery, as the governor of the Bank of Canada recently stated in a speech delivered to the Vancouver Board of Trade. Amid these conditions, government policies are critically important in attracting much-needed investment. And according to our recent survey, policy uncertainty continues to hurt several Canadian provinces in the eyes of mining investors.
 
Every year mining investors are surveyed around the world to determine which jurisdictions are attractive—or unattractive—for investment based on government policies and geological potential. The survey spotlights policies (taxes, duplicative regulations, availability of labour and skills, etc.) that impact investment decisions. The most attractive jurisdictions in the world match their mineral potential with a competitive policy environment and/or overcome a lack of mineral potential with solid policies.
 
This year, three Canadian provinces—Saskatchewan (ranked 3rd), Quebec (ranked 6th) and Newfoundland & Labrador (ranked 8th)—are in the top 10 most attractive jurisdictions for mining investment.
 
However, despite the relatively strong performance of these provinces compared to international competitors, several provinces with enormous potential continue to struggle because of poor government policies.
 
Consider British Columbia. This is a textbook example of how a jurisdiction endowed with abundant mineral resources can become unattractive for investment due to poor policies. Based on pure mineral potential, B.C. ranks 10th out of 77 mining jurisdictions. On mining policy, however, B.C. ranks 41st. When taking into account both mineral potential and policies, B.C. ranks 17th.
 
Given B.C.’s poor performance in the survey, the province would benefit from resolving its ongoing policy issues. For instance, 78 per cent of survey respondents cited disputed land claims as deterrents to investment in B.C. and 75 per cent cited “protected areas.”
 
Similarly, Ontario, which was the 7th most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment in 2017, this year ranked 20th. On policy factors alone, the province went from ranking 20th in 2017 to 31st in 2020. Like in B.C., investors view Ontario’s ongoing issues with disputed land claims and protected areas as major policy factors hindering the province’s mining competitiveness.
 
This trend continues with Quebec, which ranked in the top 10 most attractive jurisdictions worldwide this year. However, the province’s strong performance is largely driven by improved investor perceptions of the province’s mineral potential. When considering government policy factors alone, Quebec ranks 17th, suggesting room for improvement, with investors noting Quebec’s uncertain regulatory regime, disputed land claims and protected areas.
 
Indeed, uncertainty around disputed land claims and protected areas are among the top two greatest deterrents to investment in every Canadian province included in the survey. If mining investors are uncertain whether they can access land for exploration and production, they’ll be hesitant to invest.
 
Clearly, governments can’t solely rely on their jurisdiction’s mineral potential to attract investment. In reality, policy uncertainty matters to investors and if provincial governments hope to attract the investment required to develop these resources, mitigating these risks should be their top priority.
 
Jairo Yunis and Elmira Aliakbari are analysts at the Fraser Institute. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

KryptAll Keeps Your Phone Records Private

KryptAll Keeps Your Phone Records Private

Information that can be collected from phone records has become a common form of identity theft. The KryptAll K iPhone employs the highest-level encryption. In addition, KryptAll keeps your calling records private by not generating any calling records. No calling records means no possibility of identity...

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Students will be stuck paying the pandemic debt tab

 

The lingering financial fallout from the pandemic will cost our students for the rest of their lives

By Jasmine Moulton
Ontario director
Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
 
The pandemic has been hard on students of all ages. As many parents can attest, their children have missed the social interaction at school and have struggled to focus during online learning. Post-secondary students have missed out on important and exciting life experiences, too.
 
But even after in-class and on-campus learning has resumed to near normal levels, the lingering financial fallout from the pandemic will cost these students for the rest of their lives.
 
The provincial and federal governments racked up enormous deficits over the course of the past year that will be tacked on to the hundreds of billions in debt they brought into the pandemic. Ontario’s debt is projected to hit $398 billion by the end of this fiscal year, while the feds’ will surpass $1.1 trillion. The Fraser Institute calculates that each Ontarian’s individual portion of these debts combined now amounts to $58,559.
 
Imagine how alarming an Ontario birth announcement would be if the sign on the front lawn of new parents read: “It’s a boy, and he’s already nearly $60,000 in debt!”
 
But the principal amount to be repaid isn’t the only cost of debt. Interest payments on the combined debt of the federal and provincial governments will cost each Ontarian $1,375 this year, according to a report from the Fraser Institute. If parents saved even their child’s portion of that money in a registered education savings plan over 18 years, they’d have a nest egg of $24,750, plus interest, to give their child to help pay for post-secondary education. But because politicians have spent beyond their means, that money goes to our governments’ creditors instead.
 
Political leadership is needed from provincial and federal governments to address this costly debt burden being unfairly passed on to today’s students, yet sadly the opposite is happening. Politicians love grandstanding about dumping more money into education, even if it’s extremely wasteful.
 
Consider Ontario’s new French university, the Université de l’Ontario français, set to open its doors to students for the first time in Toronto this fall semester. By the original application deadline of Jan. 15, 2021, UOF had only received 39 applications, 19 of which came from current Ontario students. Data obtained from the Ontario University Application Centre revealed that of those 19 Ontario students, only two listed UOF as their first choice of school. Two!
 
UOF was jointly funded by provincial and federal taxpayers at $63 million a pop, for a total of $126 million in funding over eight years. That means that if all 39 applicants are accepted and choose to attend UOF this fall, then each student will cost taxpayers over $400,000 this year alone.
 
While some might like the idea of a French university in Toronto, proponents should first advocate for provincial debt reduction because the $12.5 billion Ontario will spend on interest payments this year could have paid for 99 UOFs (not that there’s enough demand to justify one).
 
The provincial government also owes taxpayers, current and future, some serious accountability regarding costs in Ontario’s public schools which continue to increase while student performance declines. Ontario Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, should be looking toward innovative models for public education such as charter schools which have succeeded in reducing costs while outperforming other public schools on average in Alberta.
 
Ontario students have been through a lot this year, but the pandemic will continue to cost them through higher tax bills for the rest of their lives if their parents don’t demand governments get their spending under control now.
 
Jasmine Moulton is Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Anil Uzun Will Start a New YouTube Series, “Cooking in New Zealand”

Anil Uzun Will Start a New YouTube Series, “Cooking in New Zealand”

Anil Uzun will start a new series to discover New Zealand cuisine. The series will be broadcasted on YouTube and the first episode will air on June 10 at 07.00 pm.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Ba Organics Launches Sustainable Hemp Infused Vitamin Line Called Adaptoids

Ba Organics Launches Sustainable Hemp Infused Vitamin Line Called Adaptoids

Ba Organics has released an innovative line of CBD nutraceuticals called Adaptoids. The wellness tablets are the first of it's kind to deliver accurate doses of hemp-derived cannabinoids and organic whole-fruits aimed at reducing stress and providing daily antioxidant support in one.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

All Clear Dryer Vent Cleaning of KC Earns 2020 Angie’s List Super Service Award

All Clear Dryer Vent Cleaning of KC Earns 2020 Angie’s List Super Service Award

All Clear Dryer Vent Cleaning is proud to announce that it has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA). This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2020.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Covid-19 pokes the final hole in leaky long-term care boat

 

We cannot blame COVID-19 alone for the current LTC crisis 

By Shawn Whatley
Munk senior fellow
Macdonald-Laurier Institute
 
Nursing homes struggled long before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Canada. Now, during the second wave, many front-line clinicians say our long-term care (LTC) system has all but collapsed.

In the pre-COVID era, patients waited a median of 159 days to get a bed in Ontario, with some areas at 263 days. Thus, it was not uncommon for some patients to wait more than one year, and up to 2.5 years in some areas, if they stood at the long end of the wait-time curve. The Conference Board of Canada raised the alarm 20 years ago and predicted we will need 199,000 more LTC beds in Canada by 2035.

Given chronic shortages, wait lists had grown by 78 per cent in Ontario, between 2011 and 2018, with 35,000 patients waiting. Ontario only had 78,000 beds pre-COVID, and they were all full. Premier Doug Ford promised 15,000 additional beds, in 2018, to help fix the crisis.

Then COVID-19 hit. The pandemic turned LTC struggles into outright failure.

I spoke with our regional homecare coordinator. “We just have no beds,” she said. “We are waiting between one month and a year for emergency placement."

She explained how all the older nursing homes cannot accept patients. They were built with three or four beds to a room. In its assessment from the first wave back in the spring, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reported 80 per cent of COVID-19 deaths occurred in LTC home and retirement homes. As such, new COVID restrictions limit occupancy to two, which removes at least 5,000 beds from the system. Half of the homes in central Ontario cannot accept new patients anytime in the foreseeable future.

Even when a bed opens up, many homes can only accept patients within strict limits on care. For example, wandering patients – such as those with dementia – are standard fare for long-term care. But nursing homes find it extremely difficult to isolate a wandering patient for 14 days after admission, to guarantee a new patient is COVID-free. Most homes simply cannot do it with current staff and structural limitations.

Given that 45 per cent of nursing homes are rural, and rural patients do not have other supportive housing options available, many patients are left to make-do at home. Case in point, the coordinator and I discussed two families. She had already assigned maximum hours of personal support allowed. We were fortunate to have excellent personal support workers (PSWs) willing to work in our community. But we still needed more help, especially in the evenings.

“It is virtually impossible to find PSWs who can work in the evenings. It’s up to families to care for these patients now,” the coordinator said.

Alzheimer’s patients often experience “sundowning”: they become more awake around the same time the rest of the family goes to sleep. Support staff fill the home during the day when dementia patients are relatively manageable. Come nighttime, many patients go from door to door, checking locks and trying to get outside. At some point, patients need more than any private residence can provide. Today, that point comes, too often, when patients can no longer walk to the bathroom. Crude facilities set up next to a bed in the livingroom would horrify most people.

"Long term care has completely collapsed in our area. Many families are simply taking their parents to the emergency,” the coordinator told me.

Andre Picard, health journalist, wrote an excellent review of LTC homes for the Globe and Mail. While necessary, protecting the elderly from infection makes life in an LTC home even more challenging. The pandemic’s ‘one facility’ rule reduces available staff by restricting part-time staff to working at only one location. Facing this staff shortage, over-crowded facilities struggle to maintain care at a level of dignity patients deserve. The elderly experience isolation, depression, and deconditioning, in addition to bearing the bulk of COVID-related mortality in Canada.

What can be done?

We cannot blame COVID-19 alone for the current LTC crisis. The collapse of long-term care means that acute-care hospitals overflow with patients who do not need acute care. Back in January, before COVID upended things around the world, the acute-care bed crisis was so dire in Brampton that its town council unanimously voted to declare a state of emergency due to hospital overcrowding. Weeks later, COVID captured media attention.

Ageing and long-term care present a challenge to countries around the world. And solutions abound. People have found success with everything from patient hotels to finding options for care outside of LTC. For example, CIHI reported in August that one in nine LTC patients could be cared for at home.

We do not have a shortage of solutions. We have a shortage of political will. Matching patients who need care with provision of care is easy. The politics of figuring out how to pay for it is hard. Governments need to either allocate much more revenue to close what the Conference Board predicted would be the nearly 200,000 bed deficit, or they should warn citizens to make plans of their own. Giving the impression that the state will take care of everything – while taking credit for voters’ gratitude – always ends poorly, when the music finally stops.

Political leaders must make clear what government covers and what it does not. Despite 54 percent of LTC homes being privately owned and operated, many voters seem to assume that their tax dollars supply all the care required. Ownership itself might play a minor role for care inside a heavily regulated industry such as health care. As journalist Neil Macdonald wrote for the CBC, "Usually, Canada's elected leaders at least publicly play along with the fiction that every Canadian receives proper treatment, free of charge, in a timely manner. This has been the social compact in Canada for more than half a century: our governments tax everything that moves, and even tax each other's taxes, but in return, our medical needs are seen to free of charge, never mind some budget imposed on the hospital."

COVID-19 has poked the final hole in long-term care’s already leaky boat. We cannot solve the collapse of long-term care by increasing our commitment to the same “social compact.” Adopting solutions will require a level of honesty and will that most political leaders would prefer to avoid. LTC has become the single biggest policy issue facing politicians in the health policy space. We cannot avoid it. The even bigger question is whether we will try to patch our leaky boat or find a new one altogether.

Shawn Whatley is a physician, past president of the Ontario Medical Association, and a Munk senior fellow at MLI. He is author of When Politics Comes Before Patients – Why and How Canadian Medicare is Failing.