Oliver Wendell Holmes said “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”
I sat in a union hall this morning. There were hundreds of seniors, PSWs (personal support workers) and others, listening. To cut costs, in fifteen days, the Ontario provincial government wants to remove the senior’s on-site support workers from their residences and replace them with an outside agency which will be located at least 15 minutes away. That means, if a senior falls, which is not an uncommon occurrence, or needs assistance with some personal hygiene, they will have to phone, and then wait in a queue until a worker can respond. The new agency does not respond to the Lifeline emergency necklace alerts, so the senior, if they have fallen will have to crawl to the phone. This new agency is not equipped to handle emergencies, either, so they will then have to phone for someone else to assist the person in need once they arrive. That means an ambulance or the fire department.

The provincial politician who was there (an opposition member), waved the party flag, saying it was a damned shame, and a scandal. The union wanted to make sure their members wouldn’t lose their jobs, and the local government official said the local government doesn’t want to pick up the cost because, and I swear he said it, “If we take care of this, what else will the province expect us to pay for.” It was then a woman stood up and said, ” People will die because of this policy. Will the deaths be tracked, and someone be made accountable?” The room went quiet for a bit, because she was the only one that had the guts to voice what others were thinking.

The fact is, people will die because of this. That will be when the finger pointing will begin, but it will be too late. I am going to write to the papers, the politicians and anyone who will listen and pass on the word. We are not talking about a vast amount of money: 3 million dollars. And the cost of 911 calls, ambulance rides, firefighters visiting, hospital stays, and of course the declineing health and increase in premature deaths will far exceed the 3 million. I hope you will pass on the word. One day you, or someone you love, will need this service. The small amount of effort you put out now will ensure it will be available.

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