Independent commission on long term care to begin probe in September

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The province will launch an independent commission into the long term care system in Ontario in September.

The Minister of Long-Term Care, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, made the announcement this morning via news release.

“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.

“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 says in the news release.

“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. “

The provincial government has been under scrutiny for long term care during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, about 70 per cent of the people who have died of the virus have been the elderly in long term care homes. Over 1,600 health care workers have also become ill, in part because of the lack of personal protective equipment in the homes.

Groups like the Ontario Health Coalition says the privatization of long term care bears part of the blame.

“As we all take steps to contain this pandemic, the Commission will get down to work and provide us with guidance on how to improve the long-term care system and better protect residents and staff from any future outbreaks,” says Fullerton.

“Ontarians need and deserve answers, and let me assure you, they will get them.”