An ‘URBENT OPEN LETTER to Ontario Premier Doug Ford from Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch
Posted January 11th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
Dear Premier Ford:
Families of loved ones in Long Term Care homes in Niagara and across Ontario are saying enough is enough.
Nearly three thousand have now died in these facilities and the situation is clearly spiraling out of control as we hear from more and more families desperate to get the proper care they deserve during the pandemic.
Constituent Susan Park sent me an email about the deplorable conditions her 57-year-old sister is dealing with at Extendicare in St. Catharines. Staff are overwhelmed, many at home with Covid.
“I am extremely concerned for my sister Andrea Bartscher who has a mental illness and resides at Extendicare in St Catharines.
For the past 4-5 weeks, she and other residents have been confined to their rooms. She is NOT allowed a shower or to take a walk. Every day I get emails that there are more positive cases and more deaths. This situation is intolerable.”
Susan’s story is playing out in nursing homes across Niagara as cases in the community continue to rise.
Mr. Ford, you promised the people of Ontario you would “move heaven and earth” to protect seniors in Long Term Care. You said you would “create an iron ring” around these homes. You have failed miserably to do that.
We have demanded immediate action for months to deal with the quality of care at these homes and nothing has been done for the residents or staff. Your government did not use the summer months to prepare for a second wave. You decided that “dealing with inventory” in box stores was more important than protecting seniors in the days leading up to Boxing Day.
Before you shut down the legislature in December, your top priority was to pass legislation that effectively granted long-term care homeowners and operators immunity from liability for the more than 1,800 resident deaths that occurred in their facilities during the first COVID-19 wave.
Premier Ford, it is too late to fix many of the mistakes you and your government have made to this point. Much of the damage is done. However, it is not too late to allocate the funding necessary to hire and train more workers, support front line workers with paid sick time, support workers in isolation and to distribute the vaccines as quickly as possible to long term care residents and staff.
Please do the right thing. Use the billions in unspent and unallocated COVID funds now to protect those who have worked all their lives to build our communities and those trying desperately to care for them.
Jeff Burch, MPP
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