June 23rd, 2020
June 23rd, 2020
QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is joining the loved ones of those who experienced long-term care’s COVID-19 disaster to demand that Premier Doug Ford scrap his plans to protect long-term care corporations from liability.
“For Doug Ford to even consider protecting the for-profit corporations that failed to protect their residents is wrong,” said Horwath. “Ontario should be standing shoulder to shoulder with families, not shielding for-profit companies from liability. Ford needs to immediately scrap his plans for legislation that protects those companies from being held accountable in court.”
As families prepared to rally in protest in front of Queen’s Park, Horwath joined virtually with rally leaders. Innis Ingram’s mom Catherine Robertson is living at Camilla Care in Mississauga. Raquel John-Matuzewiski’s dad Chester John is a resident of Orchard Villa. Cathy Parkes’ father Paul Parkes died in Orchard Villa. They’ve come together to demand Ford stop undermining their quest for justice and accountability.
“Private, for-profit homes have seen disproportionate infections, outbreaks and lost lives during this pandemic,” said Horwath. “Families have shared heartbreaking stories of neglect, a lack of infection control, and a disturbing lack of communication with loved ones. Instead of helping these for-profit companies continue to protect their bottom lines, Ford should be committing to helping families by doing anything he can do deliver justice, and change the system forever – including calling a full, independent, public judicial inquiry.”
Orchard Villa is owned by Southbridge Care Homes and run by Extendicare. Camilla Care is owned by Sienna. There are already several court actions under way in Ontario, which a high-ranking Sienna executive recently called “blood-sucking lawsuits,” during a call with scared families.
Raquel John-Matuzewiski, whose Dad Chester contracted COVID-19 while living in Orchard Villa, unprotected, and is now in hospital recovered and stable
“I want to send a clear message to this government. They will not add insult to injury by compounding the devastating hurt and damage that has been caused by the callous and negligent corporations they are so anxious to protect. The practices of those who have been entrusted with the duty of care for our parents, seniors and vulnerable members of our society need to be held responsible - today. Our loved ones may not have had their voices or wherewithal to demand better but we will and we won’t stop until their actions and inactions are accounted for and serve as a stark reminder to those in ownership and management positions going forward that this will not continue, we will not stand for it any longer. Their voices will be silenced no more.”
Cathy Parkes, who lost her dad, Paul William Russel Parkes, amid a COVID-19 outbreak at Orchard Villa
“The families of Orchard Villa have joined with other long-term care home families to stand against comments made by the Premier, specifically in regards to his intent to provide immunity for organizations and individuals. After all the families of long-term care homes in Ontario have been through this seems like kicking us while we are down. We will not accept the Ontario government stepping over their bounds to redefine our civil litigation rights.”
“Ford says he won’t let the ‘bad actors’ get away with anything, but who is going to decide who the ‘bad actors’ are?”
“Bill 161 is about profit protection for corporations that post profits in the hundreds of millions. The government has no right to interfere with families’ ability to seek justice through civil litigation, whether the board members of these companies are friends of Mr. Ford or not. The granting of “immunity” would be another mis-step in the Ford government’s complete mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic as it pertains to long term care.”