Ontario promises to review long-term care system once pandemic ends

TORONTO — Ontario’s minister of long-term care has announced that the provincial government will conduct a review of the long-term care system once the COVID-19 pandemic settles.

Minister Merrilee Fullerton made the announcement on Twitter Thursday morning, as the province reported that more than 600 residents in long-term care have died of the novel coronavirus.

“My heart breaks for the lives lost as a result of this pandemic. Our [government] has been clear: the system is broken,” Merrilee wrote.

“Long-term care has endured years of neglect. Once we emerge from this pandemic, we will get to the bottom of this. Yes, there will be a review.”

The minister said details about the review would not be available until after the pandemic, and added that “all forms of review are on the table.”

“Right now, and since day one of this pandemic, our number one priority is protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians,” she said.

“There will come a time to discuss the scale, scope, and terms of a review, but our priority today must be to protect people’s lives and continue to bend the curve.”

Last month, the province called in the Canadian military to provide support to some of the worst-hit homes, including Orchard Villa in Pickering, Altamount Care Community in Scarborough, Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke, Hawthorne Place in North York and Holland Christian Homes’ Grace Manor in Brampton.

There have been outbreaks in 225 homes across Ontario, and more than 681 deaths in these facilities.

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