Parksville-Qualicum NDP nominee wants action on seniors

Barry Avis says BC Liberals dragged their heels on Ombudsperson’s report

Barry Avis

Barry Avis

While Barry Avis is pleased the Liberal government is paying more attention to seniors’ concerns, he  questions why they’re not paying more attention to an Ombudsperson’s report that deals with exactly those concerns.

Commenting on Liberal Ron Cantelon’s tour of the province to garner opinions on the role of a proposed senior’s advocate, the NDP nominee for Parksville-Qualicum said  his party has been proposing a senior’s advocate for the past two years.

“There is a motion in the legislature right now and there has been for a couple of months requesting that we have one in the province,” he said. “It was also brought forward two years ago and the Liberals voted against it.”

As well, Avis noted that Ombudsperson Kim Carter has tabled a report on seniors issues that contains 176 recommendations.

“She has done a lot of investigation and study over a four-year period,” Avis said.

“To my knowledge, nothing has been done with them.”

In particular, the report, entitled The Best of Care: Getting it Right for Seniors in British Columbia, calls for the Ministry of Health to ensure there is a clear, province-wide policy on when the Mental Health Act can be used to involuntarily admit seniors to mental health facilities and then transfer them to residential care facilities and that the health authorities stop charging fees to these seniors who are involuntarily detained in residential care facilities.

The two-part report was sparked by complaints made to the Ombudsperson’s office in 2008.

She also called for the ministry take steps to end the two different legislative frameworks that apply to residential care, the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and the Hospital Act, which she said result in unfair differences in services, standards, monitoring, and fees.