COVID-19 News

Ontario to launch review of long-term care system

Today, Ontario announced a review of the long-term care system set to start in September.

Merilee Fullerton, Ontario minister of long-term care, announced Tuesday that Ontario would begin a review of the long-term care system set to start in September.

“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,” Fullerton said in a press release.

“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.,” Fullerton said.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, deaths caused by the virus have affected Canada’s LTC facilities disproportionately.

Over 80% of Canada’s COVID-19 fatalities are from LTC facilities based on data collected by independent journalist Nora Loreto. This data shows that the majority of deaths have happened in Ontario and Quebec’s LTC systems.

“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,” said Fullerton.

In 2019, the Ontario government scaled back regular inspections of LTC facilities. Long-term care providers wanted to see the inspection shifted to something more effective. Instead the Ford government scrapped the inspection process unless a critical event happened.

The ministry of long-term care told CBC that “it completed 2,800 inspections in 2019, but only nine of those were RQIs [resident quality inspection; an unannounced evaluation of an LTC facility]. The rest were critical incident inspections, complaints inspections and related follow-ups.”

Time will tell what the system review will look like. An update will be published on GuelphWire when more information is available.