May 26th, 2020

Ford government must take over all unsafe long-term care facilities, Horwath says

QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford and his government need to act immediately and take over the many long-term care facilities across the province that are failing to ensure the health and safety of seniors and staff, said Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in a press conference with family members of seniors in long-term care.

“It wasn’t good enough for Mr. Ford and his government to sit on their hands for weeks while the COVID-19 pandemic tore through long-term care homes,” said Horwath. “Just like it’s not good enough now for them to pick just two homes while leaving thousands of seniors and staff in many other facilities across the province still in danger.”

For many weeks, the NDP has been calling for the province and its public health authority to take over direct management of what staff and families believe to be unsafe long-term care homes. Despite calls from the NDP, the pleas from seniors in care, their families and health care workers, and the examples of other provinces assuming control of unsafe facilities, the Ford government refused for weeks to step in, before finally agreeing to take over just two care homes, many weeks late.

Horwath joined family members for a press conference Tuesday to urge the government to immediately intervene at all the other homes where the situation is getting more dire by the day. Audrey Da Cruz saw her mom, Theresa, for the last time on Mother’s Day, through a window. It wasn’t until Theresa developed symptoms on May 7 that the family was informed of the COVID-19 outbreak at Extendicare Guildwood, and she passed away less than a week later. Peter Priest is urgently trying to get his mom, Betty, discharged from Extendicare Guildwood because his family is worried for her well-being as the outbreak has grown and she has received limited attention to a new health issue due to the absence of physicians on-site.

“There are far too many homes like Extendicare Guildwood – facilities that have utterly failed the seniors in their care,” said Horwath. “They can’t be allowed to continue putting Ontarians at risk. The Ford government must step in now and ensure that every unsafe facility – not just two – comes under the direct management of the province. Every day this government drags their feet, they risk more seniors in care getting sick and dying.”


Audrey Da Cruz
“My mother was a survivor. She was a woman who worked the night shift in a factory to raise her children. She was a widowed single mother of two and grandmother to six. She went into Extendicare Guildwood healthier than most 86-year-olds and eight weeks later she was dead from COVID. It’s too late for my Mom but there are others still there that we can save.”

Peter Priest
“Between the conflicting information I have been getting about the rising number of COVID-19 cases at Extendicare Guildwood and waiting weeks for my mom’s COVID-19 test results, I have come to the conclusion that I have to evacuate my mom to save her life. I’m worried about how we’ll manage — we’re scrambling to sort out everything from prescriptions to transport — but without government intervention, my family has been left with no other choice.”