October 23rd, 2020

Commission reveals long-term care ignored in Ford’s COVID-19 planning and response

QUEEN’S PARK — An interim report from the long-term care commission reveals the sickening fact that the Ford government completely ignored the people in long-term care as the COVID-19 virus swept in. The commission "heard that long-term care homes were forgotten in the initial provincial plans to control the spread of COVID-19 until residents started dying…"

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the revelation that not even a wave of deadly infections hitting long-term care homes sparked action from the Ford government is a disturbing indictment of the Ford government.

“My heart aches for the families of the 1,900 people who died in long-term care, and the tens of thousands of others who have gone through hell, who now see in this report that the Ford government just didn’t put a plan together to protect their loved ones,” said Horwath.

“Sadly and sickeningly, so much of what the commission has found so far underlying that is not new,” said Horwath. “Chronic understaffing leading to resident neglect has been hurting people for years — and has only gotten worse as for-profit corporations cut more corners to pocket bigger profits over the last two decades. The NDP, residents and their families, frontline workers and experts have been sounding the alarm about these concerns. But instead of listening, the Liberals and Conservatives have been cutting and squeezing long-term care, eliminating inspections, and sweeping problems under the rug. And, even as the deadly pandemic swept towards Ontario, Mr. Ford didn’t want to spend the money to protect seniors in long-term care.”

The commission’s interim recommendations include increasing staffing and mandating at least four hours of hands-on care for residents — something Horwath and the NDP have been fighting for, for years. Horwath recently launched her plan to overhaul home care and long-term care in Ontario that commits to that.

“I am urging Doug Ford to act now to implement every single one of the long-term care commission’s interim recommendations,” said Horwath. “Seniors and their loved ones are counting on us to do better and do everything in our power to protect long-term care residents during the second wave.

“This government needs to stop pretending like this crisis is something they can sweep under the rug without justice and accountability for families.”