Trudeau’s Liberals have approved the sale of Retirement Concepts, B.C.’s largest private-sector retirement home chain, worth an estimated $1 billion, to Cedar Tree Investments, a subsidiary of China’s secretive Anbang Insurance.
Owned by China’s elite, its profits will flow to Beijing.
Retirement Concepts owns four seniors villages in Surrey: Rosemary Heights, Peace Portal, Guildford and White Rock.
Anbang only commented on the acquisition after Ottawa’s approval, claiming, according to the Globe & Mail, it has been subjected to “one of the most comprehensive regulatory review processes under federal and provincial law in Canada.”
BC Liberal Health Minister Terry Lake defensively stated B.C. has not finalized Cedar Tree’s licensing because the four regional heath authorities have not completed their reviews. Don’t expect any pre-election results, after which the BC Liberals will hope you have forgotten their role in selling off B.C. seniors to the highest bidder.
In 2015, then-seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie reported that of 292 provincially funded seniors facilities, 232 failed to meet provincial staffing guidelines, 74 per cent of which were privately owned. Thirty-one per cent of residents were given antipsychotics without a diagnosis of psychosis, drugging them into submission. Eleven per cent were physically restrained on a daily basis.
While the province recommends 3.36 hours care per senior per day, they do not provide sufficient funding to ensure residents’ needs respecting toileting, feeding and bathing are met, let alone providing the human care and attention our seniors need and deserve.
Provincial funding levels for residents are set by contract. Private-sector profits are boosted by reducing costs: cheaper and less food, reduced service levels and lower wages and benefits for employees, increasing staff turnover and resident angst.
If our federal and provincial governments expect Anbang will provide the quality care our seniors deserve, they should be reminded that China has no standards whatsoever to protect their seniors.
Jef Keighley, Surrey