Love: Sask. Party government must act as Extendicare profits while Parkside families mourn

REGINA - Official Opposition Critic for Seniors Matt Love called on the Sask. Party government to act as Extendicare continues to pay out dividends to shareholders despite the shocking loss of life at Extendicare Parkside in Regina.

Extendicare has continued to pay dividends to its shareholders throughout the pandemic. It has even managed to profit: On November 2, 2020 Extendicare shares were trading for $5.09, on January 21, 2021 they were trading for $6.17. The outbreak at Extendicare Parkside was declared on November 20, 2020.

“Instead of investing in the health and care of their residents, Extendicare is lining the pockets of shareholders with dividends. For years the Sask Party has known about problems at these facilities and has done absolutely nothing to fix it. It’s morally bankrupt,” said Love. “Scott Moe and his government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the tragedy at Extendicare Parkside, which has taken 43 lives. Lives that could still be with us if the government had listened to warnings and taken action.”

The underlying failure of Extendicare to  properly care for its residents has been identified by staff, the SHA and experts in the field since 2013. These failures include:

  • Short staffing
  • Ventilation and infrastructure failures
  • Overcrowding and four-bed rooms

Love noted that Extendicare’s decision to pay dividends to shareholders was especially concerning, given that the company has received more than $82 million under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. “Extendicare’s financial arrangements must be included in the Ombudsman’s investigation into the outbreak at Parkside Extendicare,” said Love. “If the Ombudsman is unable to do so, then the Provincial Auditor should be brought in to investigate those matters.”

Love also called for the SHA to maintain management of the facility until such time as the Ombudsman’s investigation is completed. Currently, the SHA is set to manage Extendicare Parkside until January 30.

“The Sask. Party’s years of neglect have done serious harm to long-term care in Saskatchewan, and families are paying the price,” said Love. “We are calling on the Sask. Party government to tell the people of Saskatchewan: do you think it’s right that a private company can continue to profit off of this level of care? Our seniors deserve better.”