June 2nd, 2020

Horwath: Ford must ban transfer of long-term care licenses to for-profit operators until investigations completed

Horwath agrees with Rose of Sharon families, Rykka licence should be denied

QUEEN'S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on the Ford government to put a moratorium on issuing any new licenses to private, for-profit long-term care homes at least until all investigations and inquiries into the sector and its pandemic response are complete.

"Families across Ontario whose loved ones are in long-term care are reeling from the horrifying Canadian Armed Forces report on conditions in long-term care homes,” said Horwath. “I agree with those who have loved ones at Rose of Sharon Korean long-term care — they do not want to see these same private, for-profit operators with poor records during the COVID-19 pandemic being licensed to take over the care of their loved ones.”

The Rose of Sharon Korean Long-Term Care Home is a vital provider of care, and the only facility in the province dedicated to the Korean community. The home has not had a single case of COVID-19 under its non-profit management. But, it’s being forced to sell for financial reasons, and the government is considering an application to transfer ownership of the home to Rykka, one of the for-profit long-term care providers that operates some of the homes with the highest infection rates, including Eatonville and Hawthorne Place. Conditions at Eatonville were so dire, the military had to be called in to try to protect residents after countless died and more were infected with COVID-19.

“Ontario needs more long-term care beds, and we need them in community-based or publicly owned, not-for-profit long-term care homes — not an expansion of privately-operated profit-taking facilities. Let's get to the bottom of the horrifying events that led us to this tragic point, including the role profit-taking has played,” said Horwath.

Multiple analyses – including one by the Ontario Health Coalition and one by The Toronto Star – have shown that residents in for-profit homes are more likely to contract COVID-19 and die than those who live in non-profit or public homes.