NDP calling for investigation into Extendicare financial agreements
Extendicare Parkside in Regina (Marc Smith / CTV News)
REGINA -- The Opposition NDP is calling for Extendicare’s financial agreements to be included in the Ombudsman’s investigation into a COVID-19 outbreak at Extendicare Parkside in Regina.
NDP Critic for Seniors Matt Love said the for-profit company has continued to pay dividends to its shareholders throughout the pandemic -- and even managed to profit as the cost of Extendicare shares rose from $5.09 in November to $6.17 in January.
Love said Extendicare – which operates long-term care homes from coast to coast – has received more than $82 million under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
“Today we're raising this concern about Extendicare because we think that the public needs to know. I think the Saskatchewan people would be outraged to learn the level of profit that has been earned,” Love said
“I'm here to call out Extendicare as being a bad actor when it comes to the level of care that they're providing to their residents.”
Love called on the provincial government to act.
In a statement, Extendicare said it publishes its financial statements each quarter.
It added that the wage subsidy referenced by the NDP was provided for its homecare subsidiary, not for Extendicare’s long-term care homes.
“Extendicare has taken decisive steps throughout the pandemic and our ongoing investments to protect our residents and teams are substantial. To date, we have spent $42.5 million on pandemic measures and received approximately $22.7 million in government funding that partially offsets these costs,” the statement reads.
“We will continue to invest in better protections for our residents and staff until COVID-19 is no longer a threat to their health. Our long standing dividend practices are not a barrier to these investments.”
On Jan. 14, the province launched an investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, saying it would request that the Provincial Ombudsman investigate the events that led to the outbreak.
Love also called for the Saskatchewan Health Authority to continue managing the care home until the Ombudsman’s investigation is complete. The SHA is set to manage Extendicare Parkside until Jan. 30.
According to the SHA, 41 people have died of COVID-19 during the outbreak at the facility. Two other residents who previously tested positive for COVID-19 died, however the Health Authority said these deaths are not confirmed to be COVID-19 related.
The SHA said there are currently no active cases among residents. One staff member has recently tested positive for COVID-19, contract tracing is under way.
The call from the Opposition comes the day after the province set a new single-day record for COVID-19 deaths, reporting that 13 people over the age of 60 had died.