April 16, 2020
Concerns about protecting our seniors and other vulnerable populations in Long-Term Care, retirement and group homes.
To the community of Ottawa South,
Over the last several weeks, it has become increasingly clear that those living in Long-Term Care, retirement and group homes, among our must vulnerable, have been disproportionally impacted by the spread COVID-19.
Sadly, we have seen repeated tragedies in facilities like the Almonte Country Haven Long-Term Care Home, Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Seven Oaks in Toronto, Participation House in Markham and others. This is deeply concerning and my heart goes out to all the families impacted. This is against the backdrop of the news reports that the Ontario government only completed 9 comprehensive inspections out of the 626 Long-Term Care facilities across the province last year.
Our seniors and loved ones deserve better.
Yesterday, the provincial government announced their Long-Term Care Action Plan in an effort to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 in these congregate settings. While a step in the right direction, many of the measures have taken too long to implement and do not go far enough to protect our loved ones.
For 3 weeks, the province has been at 50% of lab testing capacity. That’s tens of thousands of tests that could have been used in Long-Term Care homes, retirement and group homes to help manage the spread.
The Ontario government has been too slow to limit the movement of staff between multiple homes, especially given that we have known for weeks about the considerable risk of asymptomatic spread.
I am calling on the Ontario government and appropriate Ministers to take these additional actions immediately:
- Close the loophole allowing temp agencies to send workers into multiple homes
- Ensure all frontline healthcare workers has access to the PPE they need to stay safe
- Enhance wages of frontline workers in Long-Term care, group and retirement homes including PSWs/DSWs to stabilize the workforce
These steps must be taken right now to prevent further tragedy.
There is more work to be done to protect our seniors. Ontario is lagging behind and we can’t move fast enough.
Once we are through the worst of the pandemic, we must take an open and transparent look at the province’s response in Long-Term Care, retirement and groups homes. We owe it to all Ontario families, especially those directly impacted. For the immediate future however, our focus needs to be on what we can do right now to protect our loved ones.
MPP, Ottawa South