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To:  Partners in Ministry in the Shining Waters Region

From:  Members of the Social and Ecological Justice Commission

In a commission meeting on May 27th, 2020, the Social & Ecological Justice Commission was asked to consider endorsing two calls to action in response to what has been learned about the situations in Long Term Care Facilities in Ontario. Both the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) and the Ontario Health Coalition have written to the Premier and Cabinet Ministers requesting an independent Public Inquiry or Commission.

We attach both of those documents and request that you, as well as your Community of Faith, endorse both letters.

As a Commission, we are concerned for the safety of both the vulnerable residents of long term care homes as well as their employees.

The pandemic has caused tremendous damage for residents of Long Term Care Facilities. There has been shocking loss of life, physical impairment to those infected survivors, and trauma for their family members and the general public.

As well, front line workers have faced very difficult working conditions. Through a racial justice lens, which is one of the ways we are called to examine our work, we are acutely aware that staff at long term care homes are an especially vulnerable population.

Employees, particularly Personal Support Workers (PSWs), who are most exposed as front line workers, are from many ethnically diverse backgrounds. They are also primarily female.

These employees are generally underpaid, not valued for the work they do, and constrained by part-time employment, allowing their employers to avoid paying benefits. They also have little voice as their employment is often precarious and they cannot risk speaking up.

The ISARC letter can be endorsed by clicking here. 

In addition, please see this letter from the Ontario Health Coalition.

We ask that you contact your MPP and communicate your support for this Inquiry/Commission, as well as the guidelines, principles and outcomes requested.

Over and over again, from our most ancient scriptures to our modern-day prophets, we are called to prioritize the wellbeing of those who are marginalized and vulnerable. We hope you will join us in bearing faithful witness and taking faithful action.

Yours, in Christ

Rev. Susan Eagle,
Chair, Social and Ecological Justice Commission
Shining Waters Regional Council

If you have questions please contact:

Bri-anne Swan
Minister, Social and Ecological Justice and
Network Support
Shining Waters Regional Council
The United Church of Canada
Phone: 416-231-7680, 1-800-268-3781 ext. 6773
Email: bswan@united-church.ca