The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) is calling for an independent inquiry into the operation of the province’s long-term care facilities.
After Premier Doug Ford announced he would support such an investigation, the OHC is calling for the commission into long-term care to be under the public inquiries act and fully independent of for-profit long-term care operators.
“Any long-term care commission must have unimpeachable credibility and operate in the public interest,” Natalie Mehra, executive director of the OHC, said in a news release.
“That means it cannot be led or controlled by any partisan (political party) interests or by long-term care owners and operators. It must be transparent and open, not by invitation only. Testimony and research must be on the record and fully available publicly as with formal commissions and inquiries in the past, and the commission must report as quickly as possible,” she continued.
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Additionally, the OHC is calling for an investigation into the Province’s response to the pandemic, when it would be viable to do so.
“There are a number of issues that warrant investigation in Ontario’s response to COVID-19 overall, not just for long-term care, and these need to happen under the full powers of a public commission,” Ross Sutherland, chairperson of the OHC, said in the same release.
“These include the response to health and safety complaints and work refusals, the PPE stockpile, approaches to testing/contract tracing/quarantine and laboratories, capacity and processes in Public Health, adequate capacity in public hospitals, infection control orders, accountability and approaches to the shut down. These things cannot be adequately addressed in an inquiry looking at long-term care in isolation,” he continued.
Further, the OHC believes the Province needs to implement a concise and systematic plan that will address several issues including improving PPE supply and infection control, stabilizing the workforce, and coordinating a plan to curb the growing number of infections spreading throughout health care facilities.