WOODSTOCK — Ontario needs to increase funding and staffing and stop relying on temp agencies at the province’s long-term care homes, according to the recommendations of the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System. Ontario’s Official Opposition wants those critical recommendations implemented immediately, and is also calling for the province to look into how the systemic vulnerabilities identified in Justice Eileen Gillese’s report are impacting seniors in care homes daily.
“Our hearts are with the families of the victims today,” said MPP Teresa Armstrong, who was in Woodstock for the release of the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System final report.
“It must have been excruciating for the families of the victims to hear that there were systemic vulnerabilities in long-term care. There was only one killer responsible for these heinous crimes — but it’s clear that the province can and must do better to protect everyone who lives in long-term care. A major conclusion of this report is that we need even more caring, professional front-line workers in care homes. Workers are doing the best they can in a system that is not currently providing adequate support”
Ontario’s Official Opposition is calling on the current government to immediately lay out a plan to fulfill each recommendation, with timelines.
When the inquiry was announced in 2017, Teresa Armstrong introduced a motion for the long-term care inquiry to be expanded into a second phase. Beyond the mandated focus on what allowed these heinous acts to take place, a second part to the inquiry would examine conditions in seniors care — from nutrition to staffing complements, training and more — and how that impacts residents every day.
This motion was strikingly similar to Gillese’s recommendation 85, which calls for a study on staffing levels on each shift to be tabled in the legislature by July 31, 2020, and for funding to be increased to match its findings.
“It’s clear that we owe our parents and grandparents in care better than they’re getting today.”