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Military report finds disturbing conditions in five Ontario care homes

Last Updated May 26, 2020 at 3:53 pm PST

Summary

Report details cockroach infestations, patients crying for help and staff not responding at Ontario facilities

The military was deployed to nursing homes in Ontario and Quebec to help workers overwhelmed by COVID-19

36 members of the Canadian Forces have come down with COVID-19 while working at long term care homes

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — In what the prime minister is calling “extremely troubling,” a military report accuses several Ontario long-term care homes of negligence and appalling conditions for people living there.

The report details first-hand accounts of cockroach infestations, patients crying for help while staff stood idle, residents not being bathed for weeks and being forcefully fed, and COVID-19 patients allowed to wander freely.

“There are things in there that are extremely troubling,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “We need to take action.”

The military was deployed to nursing homes in Ontario and Quebec to reinforce workers overwhelmed by the pandemic, unable to keep up with residents’ needs because of all the protective measures they need to take, or off work because they’re ill themselves.

To date, 36 members of the Canadian Forces have come down with COVID-19 while working, up from 28 cases less than a week ago. Fourteen of the military members with COVID-19 are in Ontario and 22 are in Quebec.

Trudeau said the premiers of Ontario and Quebec have both asked for the military to extend the deployment and he expects to agree. The Canadian military will keep assisting in nursing homes in both provinces, Trudeau announced Tuesday.

“Over the last few weeks, our women and men in uniform have been working to help the most vulnerable Canadians, as we deal with this pandemic. And as the need for their help continues, we’ve received new requests to extend this period of deployment in both Ontario and Quebec. We will be following up,” he said.

Trudeau said he spoke to Ontario Premier Doug Ford earlier in the morning and assured him the federal government will be there to support the province.

“We need to do a better job of taking care of our elders in long-term care facilities in Ontario and, indeed, right across the country,” Trudeau said.

He also said that the problems uncovered by the military go beyond the facilities were members were stationed in Ontario and Quebec.

“There are many, extraordinary, excellent long-term care facilities across this country,” Trudeau added. “There are some that, obviously, are not doing as well, that we need to make sure we are improving the standards of care.”