Premier Kathleen Wynne is facing more questions about the state of Ontario’s long term care facilities following news that a nurse faces eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of seniors at Woodstock and London facilities.
A day after London-Fanshawe New Democrat MPP Teresa Armstrong raised concerns over how alleged murders could go undetected for nearly a decade, NDP leader Andrea Horwath said in the legislature Wednesday that “something obviously failed” in the oversight of nursing homes.
Horwath asked what the government is doing to ensure seniors in long-term care are safe.
“Ontarians need to know exactly what’s being done by the Premier to ensure that something this horrific and heartbreaking never happens again. So will the Premier be directing her Minister of Health to review how the government monitors nursing homes in this province?”
Wynne responded, saying that’s exactly what the police investigation is trying to uncover.
“It is the responsibility of the government and the Ministry of Health to make sure that all of the systems and protections are in place but, Mr. Speaker, at some point if there is the need for an independent review or an inquiry we will absolutely undertake that, Mr. Speaker, not because of political pressure from the NDP, Mr. Speaker, but because we all need to have the answers.”
Health Minister Eric Hoskins defended Ontario’s current oversight processes for long-term care homes.
“The police deliberately stated [Tuesday] morning that there’s no danger to any of the residents in long term care homes in this province as a result of these alleged actions. We have stated the same. We have one of the most robust oversight accountability measures to ensure the safety and protection of long term care residents certainly in Canada, in fact, in the world.”
Resident deaths at long-term care homes are mandated to be reported to the coroner but investigations are only launched in certain scenarios, such as when someone has died as a result of violence, negligence, misconduct, or unexpectedly.