Canadian Armed Forces releases 'bombshell' long-term care home allegations
Ontario will consider all options for the future of the province’s long-term care homes, including the government taking over and operating them, Premier Doug Ford said.
A visibly frustrated Ford described the situation at some of these facilities as “horrific” and “gut-wrenching” after a report by the Canadian military raised “serious concerns” about infection control, safety, staffing and level of care at five long-term care homes in Ontario.
“The system is broken and everything is on the table,” Ford said during a briefing Tuesday when asked if the province will take over long-term care and integrate it into the public health care system. “I’ll do whatever it takes. If that’s what it takes, that’s what we will do.”
Shares of Markham, Ontario-based Extendicare Inc., which operates a network of long-term senior care centers, fell 1.3 per cent on the day. Sienna Senior Living Inc., also based in Markham, slipped 0.7 per cent. Both stocks slipped in the afternoon after Ford made the comments.
Ontario will launch an independent commission in September to look into the system after it became the center of the province’s COVID-19 outbreaks, government ministers said at media briefing in Toronto. It has already started an active investigation based on the report from the Canadian military, which was called in to help contain the spread in a number of homes.
Sienna’s Altamont Care Community in Toronto is one of the five residences to which Canadian Armed Forces personnel were deployed, spokeswoman Natalie Gokchenian said in an email. The company is the target of a proposed class action related to its handling of Covid-19 and will respond in due course through the appropriate court process, she said.
About 24 per cent of long-term care residences in Ontario are experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak -- that’s 150 out of 626 facilities within the province. Still, the virus is receding. There are currently 1,855 active cases in long-term care, the lowest since April 20.
Canada has reported 85,987 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 6,566 deaths. Ontario, the nation’s most-populous province, has 26,191 infections with 2,123 fatalities.