Ontario doubling LTC home inspectors to prevent tragedies like Pickering’s Orchard Villa

By

Published February 24, 2023 at 11:04 am

Protests against the renewal of Orchard Villa LTC Home's license

The Ontario government has doubled the number of long-term care inspectors to ensure there will never be a repeat of the tragedies that occurred during the pandemic when more than 5,000 residents died and the military had to be called in to help.

The army was called to seven long-term care homes in the province, including Orchard Villa in Pickering, where 70 residents died, mostly during the first six months of the pandemic. Military accounts at the under-staffed and poorly managed homes included reports of choking from aggressive feeding, infections and residents crying for hours with no response.

Long Term Care Minister Paul Calandra was at the Michael Starr Building in downtown Oshawa – named for the former Mayor of Oshawa and long-time MPP who served as Labour Minister under John Diefenbaker and briefly as Leader of the Opposition – to make the announcement about the new inspectors.

Flanked by several of the new hires, Calandra put the blame on the state of long-term care homes in Ontario on the shoulders of previous regimes, calling it an “under-funded and neglected” long term care system.

“These additional inspectors will help strengthen what is already Canada’s toughest inspection and enforcement regime,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Long-Term Care. “By delivering on our commitment to double the number of inspectors in the field, Ontario now has the highest inspector-to-home ratio in the country, surpassing our goal of having one inspector for every two homes in the province.”

Pointing to the inspectors with him at the announcement, Calandra said the inspectors are a “very, very important part” of the long term care program. “It’s to make our residents safe.”

Ontario has hired 193 new long-term care inspection staff in total, including 156 new inspectors. Supported by an investment of $72.3 million, these new hires double the number of inspectors in the field to complete on-site inspections and respond quicker to complaints.

Doubling the number of long-term care inspectors is part of a wider suite of changes the government put in place two months ago December to strengthen its enforcement capabilities. This includes adding new compliance and enforcement tools, such as doubling the fines for infractions and expanding the grounds for a temporary manager be brought in to take over operations when there are concerns about the health, safety or welfare of residents.

The federal government also brought in new standards for long term care homes to address everything from end-of-life care, meal schedules, fall prevention and emergency plans.

Calandra said the Province is “on track” to build nearly 60,000 new and upgraded long-term care beds by 2028 to address wait lists and ensure residents “live with dignity” in a safe and healthy environment.

Ontario LTC Minister Paul Calandra

indurham's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising