Premier Doug Ford opened his daily remarks by providing details on the swift action his government is taking in response to the report released by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on several long-term care homes in Ontario. He also confirmed that CAF have now agreed to extend their mission in long-term care homes until June 12. Government Takes Over Long -Term Care Homes The Premier announced today that effective immediately his government will begin the takeover of five long-term care homes that have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. These include Eatonville Care Centre, Hawthorne Place Care Centre, Orchard Villa, Altamont, and Holland Christian-Grace Manor.
“We will use every tool at our disposal,” said Ford. “We need boots on the ground and I want eyes and ears in the homes that are most troubled so we can keep a close watch.”
The government is deploying six teams of inspectors to each of the five homes highlighted in the CAF report, as well as the Camilla Care Community Center in Mississauga. Each home will undergo an expanded and rigorous inspection and monitoring process for a period of two weeks. At least one inspector will stay in each of the target homes for the entire period to watch over the residents and staff. The inspection will include in-depth interviews with staff and residents, reviews of charts and records, random spot checks of high-risk homes and full report-back plans of the findings. “The reality is that what we saw yesterday is the worst of the worst. Let me be clear, we are looking at all options,” said Ford, adding that he is prepared to pull licenses and shut down facilities that fail to comply with procedures and protocols, if necessary. Ontario looking to expediate the launch of Independent Commission The Premier is also ordering public servants to take the necessary steps to launch an independent commission, similar to the SARS commission, in July.
He committed to ensuring the commission will be open, transparent, and independent. All proceedings will be made available to the public thorough investigations by the auditor general, chief coroner and the police. “We will get answers because our seniors deserve nothing less,” Ford said.
He also emphasized again that Ontario will need help from the federal government to provide the necessary support required to reform long-term care homes. Ontario Extends COVID-19 Emergency Order The government of Ontario has extended all emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 9, 2020.
This includes the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery. Additionally, restrictions remain on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules remain in place for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women's shelters.