October 26th, 2020

Horwath demands Fullerton be removed as Minister of Long Term Care

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Doug Ford to remove Merrilee Fullerton from cabinet for her repeated failure to keep seniors safe in her post as Minister of Long-Term Care.

Horwath’s call comes after the long-term care commission found: “We have heard that long-term care (LTC) homes were forgotten in the initial provincial plans to control the spread of COVID-19 until residents started dying...” In its interim report Friday, the commission also urged the provincial government to implement the long-term care staffing study that Minister Fullerton has been sitting on since July.

“People in long-term care are once again losing their lives amid the second wave of COVID-19, and there’s just too much at stake for Mr. Ford to keep giving the minister chances, when she keeps leaving seniors unprotected,” said Horwath. “We now know that the government ignored long-term care in its planning and response to the first wave, and I’m deeply concerned that Mr. Ford and his long-term care minister are doing the same thing all over again.”

Over 1,900 LTC residents have already died, and 82 long-term care homes had a COVID-19 outbreak as of Sunday.

“It never should have come to this. We are in the second wave, but we have fewer staff in long-term care homes than we did in the first wave. But Mr. Ford and his long-term care minister have been pinching pennies to save a buck. The long-term care system has been getting worse and worse for years. Now that broken system isn’t getting the urgent help and support it needs to stop tragedy after tragedy.”

A CBC Marketplace report recently revealed that nothing happens to long-term care homes found to have repeated safety violations.

“If I were premier, I would be hiring thousands of personal support workers, putting infection control specialists in every home, and implementing every recommendation from the LTC Commission to date. And I wouldn’t allow any minister who doesn’t protect seniors to be the long-term care minister.”