Richmond Hill, Ontario — SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario, has issued the following statement from President Sharleen Stewart:

“SEIU Healthcare was outraged, but not surprised, to learn from media reports that the provincial government is obstructing the work of Ontario’s Long-Term Care Commission. This is why our union instead called for a public inquiry, not a commission, so that families could learn the chain of failed decisions that led to so many avoidable deaths. Families deserve the justice that can only come from transparency and accountability—today that process is not possible.

Where is the justice for Christine Mandegarian, Arlene Reid, Sharon Roberts, and every other essential healthcare hero who lost their lives for simply going to work?

Does the provincial government believe working women of colour are not deserving of justice?

Do they believe the thousands of seniors who died in Ontario’s failed nursing homes—and continue to die—should likewise be denied justice?

It’s clear Premier Ford’s “iron ring” promise was a lie. It’s also clear Minister Fullerton’s “Fall Preparedness Plan” was a complete failure for our long-term care sector. Without transparency into decisions made, it’s clear there will be no justice for lives lost.

Enough is enough.

We call on the Long-Term Care Commission to urgently use their powers to compel testimony directly from the Minister of Long-term Care, as well as the Premier of Ontario. The people of Ontario should know what failures this government is fighting to cover-up, and if they’re continuing to protect their friends who run big, private nursing homes, like Chartwell’s Mike Harris.

If they fail to take these necessary steps, the Commission will have lost the faith of the public. Its final report can carry no weight unless the Commission is able to fully exercise its mandate free of political interference from the Ford government.”


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.