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SEIU Healthcare calls for public inquiry and criminal investigations into COVID-19 related deaths

May 5, 2020 Joyce Lusunike

RICHMOND HILL, ON, May 5, 2020 – SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario, is calling for public inquiries and criminal investigations into COVID-19 related deaths in long-term care to keep people alive and determine accountability.

First, we’re calling on Premier Ford’s government to immediately commission a public inquiry, pursuant to section 3 of the Public Inquiries Act, to investigate the deaths of residents and frontline workers at Ontario’s long-term care homes.

Second, we’re calling on the Toronto and Peel Regional Police to initiate investigations for criminal negligence at a number of long-term care and homecare providers involving the death of staff.

Third, we’re similarly calling on the Office of the Chief Coroner to use their authorities to inquire into these deaths.

On Friday, May 1st, our union lost a long-time personal support worker (PSW) who passed away after testing positive for COVID-19. She was the third avoidable death of a PSW in as many weeks.

STATEMENT FROM SEIU HEALTHCARE PRESIDENT, SHARLEEN STEWART:

A commission is urgently required because until we have a vaccine, or at a minimum, treatment available for the entire population, we must prepare now for consecutive spikes or waves of COVID-19.

Both frontline workers and the elderly in our long-term care system are saying the same thing: keep us alive.

That’s why we’re calling for urgent investigations that will keep people alive and hold negligent operators responsible for the death of our healthcare heroes.


SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. www.seiuhealthcare.ca

For further information: For media inquiries, contact: Corey Johnson, SEIU Healthcare, Head of Strategic Communication, 416-529-8909, c.johnson@seiuhealthcare.ca

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