Drive-around protest at Queen’s Park supports long-term care workers

Protestors are pushing for increased staffing and pay for long-term care workers

protest, care, lineup
Cars with protest signs honked to show their support for workers. Luca Tatulli/Toronto Observer

Demonstrators staged a unique protest at Queen’s Park on Thursday showing support for long-term care workers and residents.

Protestors also signalled concerns about the working conditions and the rising number of deaths in long-term care homes.

“The workloads are high — it’s roughly one staff to 10 residents,” said Anthony Fernandes, a long-term-care assistant and union steward for CUPE Local 79.

According to a Public Health Ontario report, long-term care homes have suffered 1,465 deaths. Residents have an overall higher fatality rate to COVID-19.


Long-term care residents overall has lower hospitalizations according to the same report.

Protests have a broad support from different groups

Supporters of the protests including members from different unions and public officials.

Different groups attending the protest include CUPE Local 4400 and the Steelworkers’ Toronto Area Council. The groups join in the drive around by displaying their respective flags and signs.

A truck billboard featuring protest messages presses the provincial government to increase funding for long-term care homes. Luca Tatulli/Toronto Observer

“There’s not enough attention to the safety and health of citizens working in long-term care homes,” said Don MacMillan, an educator worker who just turned 60 this year. While not a long-term care worker, he is still a member of the sister union CUPE Local 4400.

“We’ve got COVID-19 coming through in a second wave and it’s gonna hit seniors first,” he said.

Honking of car horns and chanting from protestors and by-standers were common themes of the protest.

Protestors also cheered from the eastern sidewalk of Queen’s Park.

Unique way of protesting

The protest didn’t take place directly on Queen’s Park due to the new limits of social gatherings.

According to the City of Toronto, unstaffed outdoor social gatherings are limited to 25 people while indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.

queen's park, protest
The front of Queen’s Park is empty due to the social gatherings limit of 25 people. Luca Tatulli/Toronto Observer

The drive around Queen’s Park was intended as the solution to the gathering restrictions. Protestors also wore masks and other PPE to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

People who attended the protest and showed symptoms of COVID-19 were encouraged to get tested.

Protestors are also pushing for additional care hours for long-term care residents and increased pay for long-term care workers.

As of Friday residents of long-term care homes in Toronto are no longer allowed to attend social outings due to rising COVID-19 cases.

About this article

Posted: Oct 10 2020 10:28 am
Filed under: Community Events News