Peter Tabuns MPP, Toronto-Danforth

Government of Ontario

Horwath grills Fullerton over her deadly silence

Published on March 1, 2021

QUEEN’S PARK — In question period Monday, Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath grilled Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton over her Long-Term Care Commission testimony. According to the record, Fullerton knew that seniors were in grave danger in long-term care as far back as February 2020, and repeatedly told Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet — but hid it from the public and families with loved ones in nursing homes.
“Fullerton knew the ‘iron ring’ around long-term care was a lie — and when she couldn’t convince Doug Ford to invest in protecting seniors from long-term care, she decided to go along with the lie,” said Horwath. “Fullerton should have talked to the media. She should have blown the whistle. She should have resigned, if necessary.
“This was not a difference of political opinion – this was literally life or death.”
More than 3,860 people have died of COVID-19 in Ontario long-term care homes. Fullerton testified, and her notes confirm, that she knew early on that the virus can be spread by someone who is asymptomatic, and that having staff work in more than one home was a dangerous risk. She knew they were badly understaffed in long-term care, and that there wasn’t enough PPE to keep residents and staff safe. But Ford didn’t act on any of these concerns when she raised them.