On May 27, 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the province has begun the process of taking over the management of five additional long-term care homes that are hardest-hit by COVID-19. He also announced that the independent commission into long-term care homes will begin in July, as opposed to the originally announced September timeline.
Premier Ford was joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Long-Term Care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton.
Earlier today, the Ontario government also extended all emergency orders in force under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 9, 2020.
Ontario Taking Over Management of Five Additional Long-Term Care Homes
This afternoon, Premier Doug Ford announced that Ontario has begun the process of taking over management of five additional long-term care (LTC) homes that have been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19. The homes affected are:
- Orchard Villa (Pickering)
- Altamount Care Community (Scarborough)
- Eatonville Care Centre (Etobicoke)
- Hawthorne Place (North York)
- Camilla Care Centre (Mississauga)
Four of these five homes were the subject of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) report released yesterday, which raised concerns about infection prevention, safety, staffing, and level of care in the Ontario LTC homes receiving military assistance. All five homes referred to in the CAF report will continue receiving military assistance until at least June 12.
Earlier this week, local hospitals also assumed temporary, 90-day management of River Glen Haven Nursing Home in Sutton and Downsview Long Term Care in North York. The orders may be extended beyond 90 days, if necessary.
Ontario adopted an emergency order allowing the province to issue a mandatory management order for an LTC home struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak on May 13. Issuing such an order enables the use of immediate management alternatives to protect residents and staff within a home.
Inspections at LTC Homes and Independent Commission on LTC System
Premier Ford also announced that the government will conduct “extremely rigorous” inspections of the five homes listed above, as well as 13 other homes facing the greatest challenges in managing COVID-19 outbreaks. These inspections will involve in-depth interviews with staff and residents. Random spot checks of LTC will also be conducted across the province.
Premier Ford assured reporters that the government is fully prepared to take over additional homes, pull licences, shut down facilities and move residents if required.
In addition, Premier Ford announced that Ontario is expediting the establishment of the independent commission into LTC homes. The commission will now begin in July, rather than the originally announced September timeline.
In response to questions from media, Premier Ford confirmed that he stands behind Minister Fullerton “100 per cent,” and will not consider firing her. He also reiterated his call for federal support to fix and build capacity in Ontario’s LTC system.
Extension of Emergency Orders
Earlier today, the Ontario government extended all emergency orders in force under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 9, 2020.
Current emergency orders include the closure of outdoor playgrounds and public swimming pools, as well as bars and restaurants except for take-out and delivery. Social gatherings of more than five people also continue to be restricted, and staff redeployment rules remain in place for LTC homes and congregate settings.