WINDSOR, ONT., -- Rallies across Ontario, including in Windsor and Chatham, are calling for the Ford government to end private ownership of long-term care homes and implement a standard of a four-hour minimum of hands-on care for clients, as the province comes to terms with a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

On Thursday, the Ontario Health Coalition organized rallies across the province to call for action concerning staffing levels in long-term care homes (LTC).

“The government needs to act,” said Tracey Ramsey, co-chair of the Windsor-Essex chapter of the Ontario Health Coalition. “They can say all the things that they want but, if they don’t implement things and put policies and legislation in place we aren’t going to see any systemic changes.”

Ramsey says the Ford government’s recent announcement on wage enhancements and staffing don’t go far enough to addressing the issues in LTC’s.

Last week, the premier announced a temporary pay bump for nearly 147,000 personal support workers in the province.

However, Ramsey says the pay raise does not address the chronic staffing shortages unions have been flagging for years.

“We don’t see changes to staffing levels, we don’t see a recruitment policy coming from the government, we don’t see any plan at all,” said Ramsey. “There is no excuse for the government not to have a plan given what we’ve been through and the deaths that we’ve had in long-term care.”

Ramsey led a group of union members, healthcare professionals and other activists for a rally Thursday morning outside of the Heron Terrace long-term care home in Windsor, which was the location of a significant COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.