January 17th, 2021

NDP calls for Canadian armed forces, red cross at Roberta Place and other care homes

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for the Canadian Armed Forces and Red Cross to be deployed to help at Roberta Place in Barrie, where physicians say nearly all of the 122 residents and staff have COVID-19.

“Behind the walls of some nursing homes, there is a horrifying humanitarian crisis playing out,” said Horwath. “In some of these homes, there aren’t enough people to offer residents the basics, let alone staff having the time to comfort and console residents who are battling this horrible virus.

“Physicians are calling for help at Roberta Place, and we hear the urgency. We’re asking Doug Ford not to let these people continue to suffer without the province doing anything to ease their struggle and help save lives.”

Roberta Place is not the only home in crisis. There are at least 246 long-term care outbreaks in the province as of Sunday. At least 19 of those outbreaks have more than 30 active residents cases. Seventeen of the 19 are run by a for-profit corporation.

Yet Doug Ford passed on the federal government’s offer of help from the Canadian Armed Forces, and hasn’t used the 20 Red Cross deployments the federal government provided funding for in Ontario.

“If I were premier today, I would be putting extra hands and hearts in these homes by calling in both the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Red Cross. I would conduct a massive hiring blitz to put 10,000 additional staff into long-term care, like Quebec and British Columbia did. I would put infection prevention and control experts in every home to protect the people who haven’t caught this yet.

“This government has the power to help, and the power to save lives, and they’re choosing not to invest in that.”

Horwath and the NDP have released a long-term care platform that includes replacing all for-profit corporations in the long-term care and home care sectors with public and non-profit ownership.