Business and Professional Women of Ontario Board of Directors Statement on Urgent Action Needed to Ensure Safe and Quality Long Term Care in Ontario

Toronto, Canada, March 25, 2021 --( In Ontario, 3,753 Long-Term Care (LTC) residents and 11 staff have died from COVID-19 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (as of March 22, 2021). Ontario LTC homes are in an unprecedented crisis and Business and Professional Women of Ontario (BPW Ontario) urges the Government of Ontario to take immediate action to protect residents and staff.

BPW Ontario calls on the Government of Ontario to act on the Residents’ Bill of Rights, which states that: “every resident has the right to live in a safe and clean environment” (Part II, Sec. 3). BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario to take decisive, measurable action, including to immediately accept the help offered by the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Red Cross. BPW Ontario also urges the implementation of strategies such as the immediate increase of resident care hours as recommended in the Long-Term Care Staffing Study Report by the Long-Term Care Staffing Study Advisory Group, released on July 30, 2020, evidence-based Infection Prevention and Control practices as recommended by Infection Prevention Control Canada, rapid testing for antigens of COVID-19 variants appropriate to each setting as announced by the Government of Ontario on February 12, 2021, vaccination, appropriate staff compensation, training, and leadership and dedicated management resources for care quality, based on historic recommendations made by various commissions, studies, expert testimony, and the Ministry of Long-Term Care, such as the Ontario Health Coalition statement of October 22, 2020, the Report of the Gillese Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in Long-Term Care Home System (July 31, 2019), and the Ministry of Long-Term Care Report Back on the Gillese Inquiry (July 30, 2020), the Report of the Long-Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety of 2012, and Operation Laser (Joint Task Force Central) Observations in Long Term Care Facilities in Ontario (May 20, 2020).

BPW Ontario has presented eight (8) resolutions to the Government of Ontario since 1994 to address aspects of resident and staff health and safety in LTC homes, including resolutions seeking to address issues such as adequate funding to support implementation of evidence-based practices. While some actions have been undertaken, the current situation points to egregious lapses in quality of care and resident and staff safety.

As a non-profit, non-partisan, and non-sectarian organization devoted to improving the status of women, BPW Ontario stands with the residents and essential front-line workers in Ontario LTC homes and will continue to advocate for quality of care, safe working conditions and adequate compensation of workers. BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario to do the same.
Business and Professional Women of Ontario
Maide Yazar
Heather Ellis, President, BPW Ontario,
Marlene McKinnon, First Vice-President, BPW Ontario,