Madam Speaker, I want to start off my speech this evening by thanking the colleagues who have reached out to me to voice their support for Motion No. 47 and have spoken in support of the motion in our first hour of debate and again here today.
I know that each and every one of us is plagued with the state of our long-term care facilities. Members' constituents, like mine, are asking us to take the state of long-term care in this country seriously. I believe, in looking around the chamber today, that I can confidently say we have bipartisan consensus that something needs to be done.
Organizations in my province, such as the NL Seniors' Coalition, Advocates for Senior Citizens' Rights and SeniorsNL, have all done a great deal of work over the years in educating on, consulting on and researching the impact that this ever-changing world has on our seniors, and in advocating for better standards of care, especially in long-term care, not just in my province, but across the country.
I want to take my time today to address some of the concerns colleagues have expressed in previous debate on Motion No. 47. I think it is important that we continue the debate today and move this conversation forward.
I first want to talk about how funding is critical to ensuring that long-term care facilities in Canada are held to a national standard. While Motion No. 47 does not tie any monetary value to implementing a national standard for long-term care across the country, we in this chamber all know that funding is the foundation of safe and well-regulated long-term care in Canada.
Our government recognizes this and has been stepping up to the plate to do what we can to support long-term care facilities in being the safest they can be. In the 2020 fall economic statement, we announced the establishment of a $1-billion safe long-term care fund. We have invested $38.5 million to hire and train 4,000 personal support worker interns to address the significant labour shortages that exist for long-term care homes.
We know there is more to do and more we can do, but I believe that by developing and enforcing a national standard of care throughout this country for all long-term care facilities, we can give the provinces and territories, which have jurisdiction over this industry, the framework they need to determine what funding and support are needed. We can then work with our provincial and territorial partners to determine how and where our federal government can help implement these standards.
Next I would like to speak to some concerns raised about seniors aging at home, living out their golden years in their own residences and not ending up in long-term care. I believe that Canadian seniors should have the choice of where they want to be as they get older. Everyone has different needs as they age, and I believe that seniors choosing to live in their own home in their later years is a wonderful choice. Our government supports that decision fully.
Our recently launched age well at home initiative is proof of that. Budget 2021 provided $90 million in funding that will deliver practical support to help low-income and otherwise vulnerable seniors continue to live safely, independently and comfortably in their own homes and communities. The initiative will help seniors with at-home tasks, both big and small.
The reason Motion No. 47 focuses on creating a long-term care act and developing a set of standards for long-term care facilities really boils down to choice. When seniors can and choose to remain in their own homes as they age, they have the freedom of choice. We can all think of the best long-term care facility in our own ridings and would hope that all facilities are adhering to the same standard of care for all residents, but we know that is not always the case.
My hope with this motion is to ensure that every senior, whether they choose to stay in their own home or move into a long-term care facility, has the same freedom and choice in their care and treatment as they age. Setting out a minimum standard of care in this country and ensuring that our seniors know what that is and know what to expect from a facility are the main objectives of this motion.
I want to finish off today by reiterating something I said in my first speech before the House.
We recognize that our provincial and territorial partners have primary jurisdiction over long-term care in Canada. However, the federal government still has a vital role to play. The provinces and territories cannot do it alone. Our federal government has the resources, statistical knowledge and national expertise to help them improve the quality of long-term care in their province or territory. Only if we work collaboratively, as we did throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, will we be able to secure peace of mind for all Canadians who are residents, future residents or loved ones of someone in long-term care in any province or territory in this country.
I would like to thank colleagues again for their support of Motion No. 47 and for the opportunity to speak to this again today. When we look back on our legacies as parliamentarians, I think we all want to look back on them favourably, like we did the right things to benefit the most Canadians. For me, I would like to look back on this opportunity and say that we did the right thing and did what was best for those who paved the way for us and built this country: our seniors.