But announcement was met with criticism online
Saskatchewan has launched a new long-term care homes inspections program across the province:
"We are committed to the safety and well-being of residents and staff in our long-term care homes," said Everett Hindley, minister of mental health and addictions, seniors and rural and remote health.
"Along with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, we have enhanced our oversight of long-term care homes over the years. This inspections program is one more step in our efforts to help ensure that our seniors live safely and comfortably in their communities."
The inspections will assess homes’ compliance with the regulations and Program Guidelines for Special Care Homes – which outline the standards that facilities must meet in order to provide safe and effective care – any related regulations and policies focusing mainly on the resident care and resident-centered work within the home.
Under the new program, Ministry of Health inspectors will begin by inspecting about 20 homes, selected to reflect an urban-rural balance, and a range of small, medium and larger homes. The initial series of inspections is expected to be completed by the end of March 2022.
From then, all long-term care homes will be regularly inspected on a three-year cycle, according to the government.
Saskatchewan has 151 long-term care homes and 10 other facilities with long-term care beds.
Three-quarters (73 per cent) of Canadians believe that the high number of deaths in long-term care homes related to COVID-19 could have been reduced if governments had acted sooner, according to a previous study released in March this year.
But Saskatchewan’ program was met with criticism online.
“They have been inspecting them all along, but from what I’ve witnessed not even close to good enough,” said Facebook user Barb Parker.
“Inspections have been happening for decades. Same red tape, new name to make it seem like they are doing something. If you want to fix LTC problems, stop creating paper pushing jobs and send the office nurses back to working with the residents,” said Sasha Kage, also via Facebook.
Recently, the federal government said it is looking to further improve safety measures for temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector. That followed a report from the auditor general noting that inspections at living spaces and workplaces conducted by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) have been problematic.