Richmond Hill, OntarioSEIU Healthcare, Ontario’s largest union representing workers in the long-term care sector, released the following statement from union president Sharleen Stewart in response to the Ombudsman’s investigation into the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s oversight of long-term care homes:

“The Ombudsman’s investigation revealed what we’ve known for years: that there was, and still is, a lack of protection for residents and staff, and virtually no penalties levied against negligent nursing home corporations that break their obligation to keep people safe.

After 4,000 senior deaths and 13 staff deaths, there have been no severe sanctions against nursing home operators that cut corners and put profit before care.

Today’s report reminds us that the Ford government did not do enough to protect people then, and our union wants families to know that they are not doing enough to protect people now, even as COVID-19 cases rise as we head into the fall and winter flu season.

Ontario should be a place with high standards and real accountability, but we have neither, and that continues to put seniors and staff at risk.

A system that encourages private enterprise to break the rules because there is no financial penalty for cutting corners is a system that cannot guarantee quality care for people.

SEIU Healthcare will continue to call for meaningful government oversight and punitive measures, including licence revocation, for nursing home corporations that flaunt their responsibilities in the pursuit of profit.

Our union will also continue to champion good, safe, full-time jobs for all workers so they can focus on the task of caring for other human beings, rather than being overcome with the burdens that come from unsafe, precarious employment.”