By Katrina Boguski
On Nov 16, Bonnie Roe will be presented with an award in Toronto from the Institute for Change. Leaders (ICL). According to its website, “ICL teaches the skills that organizers need to win social change.”
Their core curriculum comes from Marshall Ganz, a Harvard professor who is said to have “…codified the relationship-building organizational framework [they] teach after years of organizing with the Civil Rights and United Farm Workers movements.”
The award, issued to alumni of the ICL, recognizes Roe’s dedication in advocating for lasting change in long-term care facilities.
During a phone interview with the Echo, Roe said it’s an honour to be nominated. She noted that her name was put forward by Mike Perry who is one of the co-founders of Haliburton City of Kawartha Lakes Long-Term Care Coalition. The name of this organization will appear along side Roe’s on the award.
A statement from ICL announcing the award said, “More than 50 people attended the coalition’s town hall on fixing long-term care; unanimously adopting a plan of action that included more pay and hours of care for workers. A petition was signed by more than 5,000 people.”
“ICL was proud to work with the coalition to provide training on how to use their stories to campaign and develop effective strategies and tactics.”
It went on to say,“They used their resources of pressure and access to media to meet with their local MPP, ultimately calling her out in the local press for not acting. Within weeks, $4M in new funding to pay for more care in the local nursing homes was announced; great news for local seniors and workers … and a community win!”
While Roe is grateful to see the funding, and is pleased that the lines of communication between the coalition and elected officials are getting the group’s message heard, she is still vigilant about the long-haul projections for long-term care. The recently announced funding is a step in the right direction, but she believes it is only a fraction of the support required to address issues in long-term care.
Roe told the Echo, “We truly feel blessed to continue to fight for change for the LTC crisis in Ontario. I am so honoured to recognize the dedicated efforts of each of our amazing members who receive this award with me.”
Other members of the group include: Mike Perry, Terry Hartwick, Brigitte Gebauer, Dorothy Owen, Lyn Ritchie, Trina West, Susan Taylor, Gillian Steven, Kane Patterson, Mary Ray, and past members Joli Scheidler-Benns and Caroline Feneilus-Carpenter.
Roe plans to dedicate the award to the people who have lost their lives in long-term care during COVID-19 and to the families who lost loved ones.
Roe said that it is important for the topic of the crisis in long-term care to be an issue in next provincial election. To find out more about the work of the Long Term Care Coalition visit, www.ltcneedsyou.ca.
By Katrina Boguski