LETTER – Ban on foreign ownership of seniors residences is needed

Dear editor,

There was little in any party’s platform on seniors’ needs but in the Comox Valley we have an issue indicative of a potential problem for many more seniors.

Why was a foreign profit-making company allowed to purchase 24 seniors’ care homes, 21 of which are in B.C.? The Record (and other media sources) have noted the decline in service in Comox Valley and the recent appointment of an administrator but the fundamental problem of foreign ownership remains.

In 2017, Retirement Concepts was purchased by Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese company with numerous hotels in the U.S., financial institutions in Europe and office buildings in Vancouver. Because the price of Retirement Concepts exceeded $600 million, the transaction was vetted by the federal government’s Investment Review Division and approved by Minister of Innovations Navdeep Bains.

Clearly, Anbang now has its sights set on Canada where the federal government rarely rejects acquisitions by foreign entities. Canada, with its ease of purchase approval and growing seniors’ care market, is a prime target for further profiteering by foreign-owned companies. Anbang has no record of owning or administering seniors’ homes elsewhere. It said it was buying Retirement Concepts to learn how to provide quality care. The results of their ownership belie this assertion.

The Comox Valley seniors’ home case is just the start of a threat to seniors across Canada.

We need a federal ban placed on foreign ownership of seniors’ care facilities, with no benchmark on the cost of acquisition.

Tell your MP. Now.

Today, you may not have a relative or friend affected by the disgraceful conditions imposed by the Chinese ownership of Retirement Concepts but tomorrow that vulnerable and suffering senior could be one of your grandparents or parents. Or it could be you.

Leith Stewart,

Comox

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