Premier Doug Ford came out swinging this afternoon after a military report yesterday detailed dire conditions in five long-term care homes in Ontario. Ford announced a number of measures to clean up senior’s homes. The federal government has agreed to keep the military in the homes until July 12th. Additionally, the province has begun the process of taking over the management of the five homes. Ford says six teams of two inspectors will be deployed to the homes, with at least one inspector staying at the home day and night to monitor conditions, interview staff, and residents, and review charts and records. Over the next 21 days, 13 other homes that are facing challenges will also be inspected and there will be random spot checks of other homes province-wide.
The province’s Chief Coroner, the Auditor General, and possibly the police will also be conducting investigations and Ford says, “There won’t be a piece of dust on the floor they are not inspecting.”
Ford also announced an independent commission will begin investigating long-term care homes in July, instead of September as originally planned. Ford says the commission will be independent of the government and will conduct public hearings and interview witnesses with the reports made public. When asked if Ford himself would welcome the commission investigating the Conservative government’s actions and even his own, he said, “I want it fully transparent right from the get-go, be called as a witness, absolutely I’d appear.”
Ford says he will not fire Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton, “I stand behind my minister 100-percent, when it comes to long-term care, she is probably the most knowledgeable person here in Queen’s Park…I count my blessings I have Dr. Fullerton as a Minister”
Again today Ford repeatedly said the system has been broken for years but they will “fix it.”