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Public care only

After a recent incident, at a long-term care facility in Durham Region, there should be no question of what needs to happen next. It’s time for the Ontario provincial government to put a stop to, private, for-profit companies owning long-term care facilities.

For those who don’t know what happened, recently, Durham Region police announced an investigation has begun into White Cliffe Terrace Retirement Residence in Courtice. After it was alleged, “staff members had removed door handles to some units in the residence.” It has been widely reported White Cliffe Terrace’s General Manager has been placed on leave. The facility is owned by Verve Senior Living. If these allegations are proven to be true, this is not only deeply disturbing and an indictment of the systems this company has in place, but also an indictment of the privately owned sector as a whole.

Over the years, there have been many other investigations and disturbing reports about privately owned long-term care homes in Ontario. Many people will remember a report, about Orchard Villa in Pickering, by the Canadian military. The report noted an issue with cockroaches and flies and some staff members allegedly not following proper protocols.

There have recently been calls from local municipalities requesting the province investigate Sunnycrest Nursing Home in Whitby, one of the facilities hardest hit by the virus.

Meanwhile, the biggest COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care, in Ontario, have mostly been in facilities which are privately owned, and for-profit. While a lot of long-term care homes have struggled during this pandemic, the for-profit nature of these facilities, coupled with failed systems, has left them unable to handle outbreak situations fully.

Long-term care facilities should be fully accountable to the public and to the Ontario government, not to shareholders with deep pockets. If all for-profit long-term care facilities were all publicly owned, standard levels for staffing could be implemented across the province, and modernized resident care protocols could be standardized in these facilities.

For the safety of all seniors, be it your mother, your father or another family relative or friend, it is time to bring an end to the privately owned long-term care system.

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