Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

NDP MPP Fife’s Till Death Do Us Part Act passes critical stage with unanimous support

Published on December 12, 2019

QUEEN’S PARK – Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife’s Till Death Do Us Part Act successfully passed its critical second reading vote on Thursday. The Till Death Do Us Part Act amends the Long-Term Care Homes Act Residents’ Bill of Rights to provide couples with the right upon admission to continue to live with their spouse or partner.

During the debate, Fife noted the wide-ranging support the bill has received since it was presented in November. “My office heard from hundreds of people who have experiences of themselves or their family members being separated from their partner in our long-term care system.

“Take Jim McLeod in Cambridge. He has been separated from his wife of 61 years, Joan, for the last two-and-a-half years. Jim lives in the seniors’ apartments at Fairview Mennonite Home in Cambridge, while Joan – who requires long-term care – lives across town at Hilltop Manor. Joan has been on Fairview’s long-term care waitlist for two-and-a-half years and her position has barely changed. Jim drives to see her daily, but this is becoming increasingly challenging.

“Or Don and Pat Oberholzer of Waterloo, who have only been separated for a month, but who are rapidly deteriorating without the support of their partner. Don and Pat are sad, depressed, and lonely being apart and their family is struggling with the realities of our system,” Fife said. 

Don and Pat’s daughter Kathy Ziegler said this about her parents: “They said their vows May 9, 1953 to one another and they meant it. In sickness and health, till death do us part. This is not the life they are able to live now. No couple should have to be separated. We need homes which can accommodate couples and allow them to live their last years together.”

“In an era of heightened partisanship, it is reassuring to see that everyone in the legislature could agree that we need to do better for our seniors,” Fife said. “I will keep pushing to make sure that the Till Death Do Us Part Act continues to move through the legislative process so that everyone can have the right to live together as they age.”

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