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Commission to investigate ‘broken’ long-term care system

As the COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on failures in the long-term care system, the provincial government announced this morning it will undertake a review this fall.

Saturday, the Ontario Long Term Care Association, representing care homes in Ontario, supported a public inquiry into the sector that would solve long-standing issues but wants staffing issues and personal protective equipment levels addressed immediately.

Long-term care homes have seen the brunt of more than 1,900 deaths during the pandemic. The Ministery of Long Term Care reports more than 1,300 deaths. Four deaths in Hastings Prince Edward have been confirmed at the Hastings Manor facility in Belleville.

As of May 15, no new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the region – since May 1’s tally of 42 cases.

“Our government has been clear that we will review the long-term care system to get a better understanding of the impacts and responses to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.

She announced a launch of an independent commission into Ontario’s long-term care system, beginning in September.

“We have been clear the long-term care system in Ontario is broken. We must act quickly and decisively, and that is why an independent non-partisan commission is the best way to conduct a thorough and expedited review.

“Over the next several months, our government will be finalizing details of the commission including terms of reference, membership, leadership of the commission and reporting timelines,” she said.

She stated the commission will provide guidance on how to improve the long-term care system and better protect residents and staff from any future outbreaks.

“Our government offers our condolences to the families who lost a loved one to COVID-19 while residing in a long-term care home,” she said. “Ontarians need and deserve answers, and let me assure you, they will get them.”

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