FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2020
Richmond Hill, Ontario — SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario, brought emergency applications and secured an order from the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) that enforces greater protection for workers and transparency for families at Altamont Care Community owned by Sienna Senior Living, as well as Anson Place and Eatonville Care Centre, for-profit nursing homes owned by Ryykka Care Centres.
The OLRB order reinforced the union claims that not enough was being done by either the provincial government or long-term care corporations to keep workers and nursing home residents safe and secure during the COVID-19 crisis.
Among the orders includes:
- Sending a Ministry of Labour inspector to physically visit the workplaces and conduct inspections under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act on a weekly basis. The inspector will provide a written report management and the SEIU Staff Representative by email within 24 hours of each visit. The inspector will also attend every meeting of the workplaces’ joint-health-and-safety committees.
- Informing employees and the Union of (i) resident cases of Covid-19, (ii) resident deaths from Covid-19, (iii) staff cases of Covid-19 and (iv) staff deaths from Covid-19 on a daily basis.
- Implementing administrative controls, including cohorting of residents with COVID-19.
- Requiring all efforts be made to ensure that each facility is appropriately staffed. Management will be required to provide a staffing report of the number of staff present on each unit on a weekly basis.
- Requiring all visitors and staff in the facilities wear appropriate PPE.
These orders acknowledge that not enough was being done by the provincial government or nursing home employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees or their residents.
As of Monday, April 20—the date of our OLRB emergency applications—over sixty-eight (68) residents had died at these three homes and one staff member has tragically passed away. Unfortunately, there still remain hundreds of resident and staff infections.
STATEMENT FROM SEIU HEALTHCARE PRESIDENT, SHARLEEN STEWART:
It’s a stain on our province that it required filing these applications to have the provincial government and for-profit long-term care corporations do the right thing, especially in a time of crisis when people are getting sick and dying.
Because our case was strong in demanding the provincial government use their authority to replace management at these facilities, the OLRB has now ordered a Ministry of Labour Inspector to physically inspect the facilities on a weekly basis.
Despite management’s unwillingness to do so, SEIU Healthcare will share the outbreak and staffing level information we receive with Family Councils so they have clearer transparency into the facilities.
This is information that management should already be sharing at all times.
We call on all long-term care companies to do the right thing and demonstrate that our families come before their profits.
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 media inquiries, contact:
SEIU Healthcare, Head of Strategic Communication