Ontario announces independent commission into long-term care system

Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, in Winchester in March 2020. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

TORONTO — The provincial government is setting up an independent, non-partisan commission into Ontario’s long-term care system that has been so hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been clear the long-term care system in Ontario is broken,” conceded Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, as she today announced the upcoming launch of the commission this September. “We must act quickly and decisively, and that is why an independent non-partisan commission is the best way to conduct a thorough and expedited review.”

“Our government has been clear that we will review the long-term care system to get a better understanding of the impacts and responses to the COVID-19 outbreak,” the minister said.

Details of the commission will be finalized over the coming months, including terms of reference, membership, leadership of the commission and reporting timelines.

The commission is intended to provide guidance “on how to improve the long-term care system and better protect residents and staff from any future outbreaks.”

Residents of long-term care homes account for the large majority of COVID-19 deaths in Ontario.

“Our government offers our condolences to the families who lost a loved one to COVID-19 while residing in a long-term care home,” said Fullerton.

“Ontarians need and deserve answers, and let me assure you, they will get them.”

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