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Concerns grow about Anbang Insurance Group’s purchase of seniors’ homes in Canada

The Council of Canadians opposes the Trudeau government’s approval of Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group purchasing the Retirement Concepts chain of twenty-four seniors care facilities in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

In an in-depth blog, Toronto-based Council of Canadians health care campaigner Michael Butler writes, “In Canada, 37 per cent of long-term care beds are already owned and operated on a for-profit basis.”

He notes, “The Council of Canadians has repeatedly proposed including long-term care and related services under the Canada Health Act; including bringing them universally into the public system with mandated minimum direct care staffing levels consistent with the evidence. In lieu of federal government leadership on this, we believe the least they should have done is protect the interests of Canadians and the further erosion of our health care system by rejecting this deal. Health groups from Alberta and British Columbia also called on the government to reject this takeover.”

Among the concerns highlighted by Butler:

1- the deal further opens public health care in Canada to for-profit business;

2- it represents a further loss of accountability and control over the provision of seniors’ care;

3- for-profit seniors’ homes have gone bankrupt leaving residents and families in difficult situations;

4- for-profit seniors’ homes in Ontario have been found to provide fewer hours of care than public facilities;

5- Anbang’s opaque ownership structure means that complaint processes, credit worthiness and accountability are also murky;

6- Anbang does not have a history in long-term care or its operations;

7- Anbang buys property and land around the world and could be more interested in Retirement Concepts substantial real estate investment company;

8- the investment could be more about capital flight from China than about seniors’ care;

9- the Trudeau government began free trade talks with China at the same week this deal was approved;

10- Trudeau attended a cash-for-access fundraiser that involved lobbying to allow Chinese investment in seniors’ care in Canada.

For more, please read Butler’s blog, Liberal approval of billion dollar sale of B.C. retirement-home chain ‘doesn’t pass the smell test’.

The Council of Canadians stands with the Hospital Employees’ Union and Friends of Medicare which have also called on the Trudeau government to reject the sale of the retirement homes to Anbang Insurance.