KITCHENER – Ford failed Ontario’s seniors during the pandemic, the latest Ombudsman report confirms, finding that Ontario’s Long-Term Care inspection system “collapsed during the deadly first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.” MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls riding), NDP critic for Long-Term Care (LTC), released the following statement:
“Ford’s absolute failure to protect seniors during the pandemic contributed to an unconscionable wave of deaths in Long-Term Care. Today, we learned that many of these deaths were preventable.
The safeguards meant to protect seniors failed entirely. Under this government’s watch, inspectors did little or nothing to hold these homes accountable. And thousands of our friends, parents and grandparents died.
Make no mistake – the Ford Conservatives axed the level of LTC inspections when they took office, leaving the system already strained when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. They failed to respond to the clear crisis with the appropriate level of urgency and commitment. They also passed legislation to protect LTC operators from facing consequences.
This was preventable. And there need to be immediate consequences.
Instead, Ford’s corrupt Conservatives are rewarding the private operators with some of the worst death records with lucrative MZOs.”
Read the Ombudsman’s report on LTC here.
The Ombudsman’s report found that the Ministry of Long-Term Care:
- Did not have a plan for how inspections would work during a pandemic and did not provide inspectors with adequate training and equipment.
- Did no inspections of long-term care for seven weeks during the beginning of the pandemic
- Failed to assess COVID-19 as ‘high risk’
- Did not order homes to immediately fix problems
During this crisis, Ford passed the LTC file like a hot potato from Merrilee Fullerton to Rod Phillips, and finally to Paul Calandra (who has just been promoted to Housing Minister). None of them were able to work on serious solutions.
The Ombudsman found that 4335 residents and 13 LTC staff died between March 2020 and April 2022