Premier Doug Ford, along with Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott, Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones today provided an update on a highly anticipated report from the Canadian Armed Forces on the state of the five Ontario long-term care homes where they are assisting with COVID-19 outbreaks, and called on the federal government and the Canadian Armed Forces to extend that mission.
Premier Ford began his remarks by expressing that the findings from the Canadian Armed Forces report are deeply concerning, using words like “heartbreaking,” “horrific” and “shocking.” Noting that more must be done to protect Ontario’s seniors living in retirement homes, Ford said, “It’s gut wrenching and reading these reports was the hardest thing I have done as Premier.”
The key challenges surrounding long-term care homes include issues such as non-adherence or lack of appropriate policy, insufficient and inadequate resources, infection prevention, safety, staffing levels and level of care. Ford promised that the government is working around the clock to stabilize the hardest hit long-term care homes in the province. The Premier also noted that each of the five long-term care homes now has a hospital partner supporting them, emphasizing that the expertise, knowledge and dedication of our hospitals have been critical in stabilizing the situation.
Plea for More Help
Ford has asked the Canadian forces to extend their mission in Ontario long-term care homes for another 30 days and thanked the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. He ended ended his daily briefing by calling on the federal government to join as a funding partner, and especially called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for support.
Ford has asked Ontario’s chief coroner officer to investigate the situation in long-term care homes in an effort to bring justice and accountability to the residents and families of long-term care homes in the province. The results of this investigation will be shared with the police and the public once they become available. “We must change the system, and this situation must serve as a wake-up call for our entire country,” Ford said. “COVID-19 has exposed deep cracks in our long-term care system.”