MLA Matt Love, seniors critic for the Saskatchewan NDP, has voiced his concerns about how the Extendicare company is gaining profits while Regina’s Parkside families mourn deaths from the facility’s recent COVID-19 outbreak.
During a online conference with reporters on Friday morning, Love pointed to Extendicare continuing to pay out dividends to shareholders despite the 43 lives lost at the Regina care home from the outbreak over the last several weeks.
He said instead of investing in the health and care of their residents, Extendicare is lining the pockets of shareholders with dividends.
“We believe that profits should not be prioritized over the lives of our seniors, and that very much looks like what is taking place at Extendicare right here in our province,” stated Love.
A release from the NDP shows how Extendicare’s shares were trading for $5.09 on November 2. The outbreak at Parkside was declared on November 20. On January 21, Extendicare shares were trading for $6.17, even after Extendicare received more than $82 million under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy during the pandemic.
“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 criticized the provincial government due to the recent COVID-19 tragedy at Parkside. He noted how the government and Extendicare have failed to address issues identified by staff, the Saskatchewan Health Authority and experts in the field since 2013 including short staffing, overcrowdedness and infrastructure failures.
The Regina MLA 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.