Abolish Long-Term Care: Nationalize Home Care in Canada
Megan Linton and Sarah Jama
In Canada, 19,000 disabled people have died in sites of confinement and incarceration. Long-term care institutions (sometimes called nursing homes) have been used to warehouse particularly older, disabled people, and remove them from communities of care, instead subjecting them to violent conditions that disproportionately harm and kill people with disabilities.
At a time when COVID-19 outbreaks have peaked in prisons and long-term institutions, we are demanding an abolition of long-term care and a nationalization of home care. We fundamentally believe that:
- We can build communities where disabled people thrive through the deinstitutionalization and decarceration of long-term care in so-called Canada.
- Long-term care institutions are fundamentally institutions for disabled people. We believe deinstitutionalization is the only means of liberation for disabled people!
We believe that disabled people make our communities whole. We need to create systems where disabled people live in community. The current system isolates, segregates, and warehouses disabled people and elders. We believe that the maintenance of any form of institutionalization, regardless of ownership, signifies an ongoing investment in institutional models of “care” that put disabled people and elders at risk.
Abolition, not nationalization, is the only appropriate response to the deaths of more than 14,000 older, disabled people during the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot expand a system of institutionalization that normalizes the mass death of elders and disabled people. We must abolish long-term care
We believe in an end to the ableist and ageist system that prioritizes profits at the cost of human lives. The maintenance of these institutions, both private and even public, fails to address the systemic issues that cause institutionalization—lack of access to housing, income supports, homecare, health* care and community supports.
Abolition of long-term care is the only means of building systems of JUST CARE WORK. We believe in just working conditions which lead to just care conditions. Abolishing long-term care does not mean job losses – it means reconfiguring labor conditions.
We believe that disabled people and elders are valuable apart from their ability to produce. We should not segregate people based on their ability to contribute to the economy.
We believe that institutionalization fails to consider the loss that communities experience when disabled people and elders are segregated into institutions. Warehousing elders and disabled people means severing intergenerational bonds and community. We believe in creating communities where disabled people and elders have access to the resources, care and support they need.
We believe that institutionalization is a result of the same systems of incarceration that removes, isolates and confines community members in psychiatric institutions, emergency shelters, and prisons. We believe in an end to the warehousing, caging and incarcerating of people instead of providing care and justice.
Sign the petition and read more here: https://www.djno.ca/abolish-ltc
Megan Linton is a disability policy researcher, writer, and advocate. Her research and advocacy focus on the pervasive use of institutions for disabled children & adults across Ontario and the need for deinstitutionalization. Megan researches disability, political economy, and public policy, with a disability justice community network at the centre of her research. She loves making soup, reading spectral fiction, and dreaming of crip futures. Read her writing here and find her tweeting about sex and disability at @PinkCaneRedLip.
Sarah Jama is the Executive Director at the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO). She is a community organizer from Hamilton, ON with Cerebral Palsy who does work around combating anti black racism, policing, and housing insecurity. Through DJNO, she works to tackle systemic ableism by building up capacity in disabled organizers to challenge structures locally, provincially and nationally. In her past role as Senior Program Coordinator at the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, she ran a Civic Leadership Program which sought to help Black and racialized youth to understand their place in working inside and outside of institutions to affect structural change.