OTTAWA – The Ontario government now has an emergency power to control the management of privately run long-term care homes as the COVID-19 outbreak affecting Canada’s most vulnerable seniors continues.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the order Wednesday morning, saying in a statement it will mean Ontario is better prepared to “immediately swing into action if a home is struggling to contain this deadly virus.”
Ontario is the latest province to take such measures, following Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, all of which have seized control of private seniors’ homes in recent weeks.
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Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton rejected calls to take over management of some specific care homes just a few weeks ago, though she said the province was open to co-ordinating management teams to go in and help when necessary.
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Long-term care homes have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Tuesday about 20 per cent of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada are linked to long-term care homes, but more than 80 per cent of the people who have died from COVID-19 were seniors living in the homes.