PODCAST: Isobel Mackenzie - B.C. Seniors Advocate

In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast (the first in several months) I’m republishing a virtual town hall I hosted on Monday June 15, 2020 with Isobel Mackenzie, the B.C. Seniors Advocate.

In February 2020 the Office of the Seniors Advocate published a report titled A Billion Reasons to Care. It is the first detailed review of British Columbia’s contracted long-term care sector. The office analyzed contracts, annual statements, and revenue and expenditures from 2016/17-2017/18 of for-profit and non-profit operators in the $1.4 billion industry across the province.

Mackenzie summarizes the findings in her cover letter.

“You will read in the attached report of a funding and monitoring system that lacks the type of accountability, openness and transparency that both B.C. seniors and B.C. taxpayers deserve. The review also illustrates some marked differences in spending between contracted providers who are private businesses and those who are not-for-profit care societies.”

Our conversation begins with an overview of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on seniors and the long-term care sector. Mackenzie then presents the findings of her report followed by our discussion about the implications for all British Columbians. We also highlight that June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the services available to seniors in reporting instances of abuse. As this recording is from a virtual town hall many of the questions come from the attendees.

The B.C. Green Caucus was asking questions about the long-term care sector prior to the public health emergency and we will continue to ask the government about what they intend on doing to address the shortcomings in this report and the other vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19.

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