The Crisis In Long Term Care: Richard B. Splane Lecture in Social Policy

Thursday March 31, 2022
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

The Crisis In Long Term Care: Richard B. Splane Lecture in Social Policy


  • Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate, British Columbia
  • Pat Armstrong, Distinguished Research Professor in Sociology, York University
  • Máire Kirwan, Private Sector Coordinator, Hospital Employees’ Union

Land Acknowledgement, Welcome & Closing Remarks: Prof. Donna Baines, Director, UBC School of Social Work

Background to the annual Splane Lecture, Introductions to Partners: Patsy George, Past President, United Nations Association in Canada, Vancouver Branch

Moderator: Tim Stainton, Professor, UBC School of Social Work; Director, Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship

Panelist Bios:

Isobel MackenzieIsobel Mackenzie has over 20 years’ experience working with seniors in home care, licensed care, community services and volunteer services. Isobel led B.C.’s largest not-for-profit agency, serving over 6,000 seniors annually. In this work, Isobel led the implementation of a new model of dementia care that has become a national best practice, and led the first safety accreditation for homecare workers, among many other accomplishments. Isobel has been widely recognized for her work and was named B.C. CEO of the Year for the not-for-profit sector and nominated as a Provincial Health Care Hero. Prior to her appointment as the Seniors Advocate, Isobel served on a number of national and provincial boards and commissions, including the BC Medical Services Commission, the Canadian Homecare Association, BC Care Providers, BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry, and the Capital Regional District Housing Corporation. Isobel also served on the University of Victoria’s Board of Governors. Isobel received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Victoria and has a Certificate in Health Care Leadership from the University of Toronto.

Pat ArmstrongDr. Pat Armstrong is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at York University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Focusing on women, work and the health and social services, she has published such books on health care as Wash, Wear and Care. Clothes and Laundry in Long-term Care: Troubling Care: Critical Perspectives on Research and Practices; Critical to Care: The Invisible Women in Health Services; and Wasting Away; The Undermining of Canadian Health Care as well as many book chapters, journal articles and reports intended for public audiences. Much of this work makes the relationship between women’s paid and unpaid work central to the analysis and is carried out in partnership with unions and community organizations. She has also served as an expert witness in more than a dozen cases before Tribunals and Commissions and led multiple team research projects, including the 10-year interdisciplinary “Re-imagining Long-Term Residential Care: An International Study of Promising Practices” and a current one on “Covid-19, families and long-term residential care”.

Máire Kirwan Máire Kirwan has been an activist in the labour movement for more than 30 years. Shortly after arriving in Canada as a nanny in the late 1970’s, Máire quickly became involved in the fight for domestic workers’ rights and immigration reform.  She came to Vancouver in the early 1980’s and once entering the workforce, she took on the role of shop steward in her union, becoming a strong advocate for working people and actively fighting for LGBTQ rights in the workplace and in the union, serving as a founding member of CUPE’s Pink Triangle Committee. In 2000 Máire began work at the Hospital Employees’ Union as Staff Representative, shortly before the vicious liberal attack on health and community social service workers. Máire worked directly with members who were fired from their family supporting jobs, led workplace and community fightback campaigns, organized new workers and was part of a broader political movement for change. Over the next 10 years Máire led numerous province-wide campaigns, new worker organizing campaigns and was a senior staff advisor to the union’s leadership during an internal review. While working in the union’s education department Máire played a foundational role in the development union’s early diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. She is committed to improving the economic security and working conditions for HEU members working for multi-national corporations providing contract hospital support services and private for profit long term care operators. In 2015 Máire assumed a leadership role in HEU’s newly formed private sector department, consolidating membership services.  Today she is HEU’s coordinator of private sector services. In her role she has responsibility for more than 25 staff working in organizing, private sector collective bargaining and servicing, overseeing direct day-to-day services to 20,000 private sector members.

This talk will take place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the šxʷməθkʷəy̓əmaɁɬ (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil Waututh), and skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) peoples.

Co-hosted by: United Nations Association in Canada – Vancouver Branch, UBC School of Social Work, and UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs