Ontario Premier Doug Ford has a message for investors in the aftermath of this week’s scathing Canadian Armed Forces report on alleged abuse and neglect in long-term care homes: it’s time to hold management teams to account.

Ford told reporters during his daily COVID-19 briefing Thursday that he would consider pulling licences from the owners of five Ontario homes where the military reported finding rotting food, cockroaches, patients in soiled beds, and other conditions that allowed the virus to spread among residents and staff. 

"You want to invest in a company, make sure the company is run well," Ford said. "You buy a stock, you have to do your due diligence to make sure the product is good. These homes, the ones specifically that the Canadian Armed Forces are in, they've failed. I would expect as a shareholder to hold the CEO, the chair, accountable." 

Sienna Senior Living Inc., which owns 37 long-term care facilities in Ontario and another eight in British Columbia, operates Altamont Care Community, one of the five Ontario homes named in the CAF’s report. The novel coronavirus is blamed for 52 deaths at that facility. Sienna also operates the Camilla Care Centre in Mississauga, Ont., where the province has now taken over operations after at least 61 residents died from COVID-19. 

Shares of Sienna fell on the Toronto Stock Exchange for a third straight session Thursday, while other long-term-care operators such as Extendicare Inc. and Chartwell Retirement Residences also slumped on the TSX.

"Nothing drives me more crazy than these big corporations saying, 'No, we're watching dollars and cents,'" Ford said. "There's a lot we can do. We can pull their licences and they don't have to have a home they'll worry about. Trust me, as this review goes on, we'll be taking action and holding people accountable." 

Ford also suggested that operators of long-term care homes should "get out of the business" if they're more interested in profits rather than providing quality care for their staff and residents. 

"Go find something else to do," he said. "Don't put people's lives in jeopardy."​

While Ford is typically a proponent of cutting red tape, he said regulations should be increased when it comes to long-term care.

Dean Orrico, chief executive officer of Middlefield Capital Corp., a Toronto-based investment firm, which reduced its positions in its long-term care holdings including Sienna Senior Living earlier this year, told BNN Bloomberg in a broadcast interview Thursday he doesn’t believe the province wants to move towards privatization of the sector.

“They’ve got a lot of issues on their plate, prior to the pandemic and post the pandemic. So I think what you’re going to have happen is it’ll be for profit but there’s going to be additional measures put in place where only the stronger players are going to be able to execute and make a reasonable return on this business,” he said.

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