Today Premier Ford shared key findings from the Canadian Armed Forces report on the five long-term care homes at which the military had been brought in to assist. These homes with military support were previously identified as in crisis and in greatest need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but the details reported show how dire the situation was. The issues identified were related to staffing, infection prevention and control, resident safety, food preparation and janitorial services.
The whole report is available here.
The government has already initiated an investigation based on the Canadian Armed Forces Report. One death has already been referred to the Office of the Chief Coroner for investigation and criminal charges are possible. The government previously announced it will be launching an independent commission into the long-term care system beginning in September. Given the severity of the report, it is very likely that additional steps will be taken before then.
While the situation in these five homes have stabilized, the government has asked the federal government to extend the support the Canadian Armed Forces are supplying to long-term care for at least an additional 30 days.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already fragile situation in long-term care across Ontario. Premier Ford said the long-term care system in Ontario has been broken for decades, must be fixed and that Ontario needs the Prime Minister, who called these findings disturbing, and the federal government as a funding partner to fix the system. Both the Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott acknowledged that while it is highly probable that problems exist in more than these five LTC homes, it would be unfair to suggest that all 626 Ontario LTC homes are operating in the same manner. Premier Ford also admitted to media that this report was the most difficult report he has had to read since becoming Premier of Ontario.
Prior to today, two LTC homes have already had their management assumed by hospitals at the direction of the Ontario government. There may be more in the days ahead.
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