B.C. government criticized over failing to release consultant's report on long-term care homes

·2 min read

The B.C. government is facing criticism for not making public a report into the effect of the pandemic on long-term care homes and failing to the tell the public that it was commissioned at all.

Several organizations have confirmed they provided information in the summer of 2020 to consulting firm Ernst and Young, which was hired by the provincial government to look into how COVID-19 outbreaks were handled and how the virus was able to spread at different facilities.

They now wonder why the Ministry of Health has not made the independent report public as B.C. deals with the second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The Hospital Employees Union and B.C. Care Providers Association, which represents care home operators, said they also talked to Ernst and Young for the report.

SafeCareBC, an industry funded, non-profit association which advocates for injury-free working conditions in the sector, also gave feedback.

"We were approached back in July," said SafeCareBC CEO Jennifer Lyle.

Lyle said the organization described challenges in obtaining personal protective equipment or PPE, staffing shortages and burnout, the province's single-site order for long-term care workers, the impact of the pandemic on mental health and visitation restrictions.

"We also engaged with our members to help solicit their experiences and feedback from what they've experienced going through the first wave of the pandemic."

The existence of the Ernst and Young report is causing confusion because B.C.'s seniors' advocate said last week that her office, too, is reviewing care homes. That report is expected to include facilities that experienced major, fatal outbreaks such as Little Mountain Place in Vancouver, Tabor Village in Abbotsford, Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver and Langley Lodge.

B.C. Liberals urge report's release

The B.C. liberals are pushing for the independent report to be released as soon as possible and question why the recommendations weren't made public after the research was conducted last summer.

Interim B.C. Liberal Leader Shirley Bond is calling for transparency regarding the report.

"The little that we, and the public at large, do know about this report leaves us with plenty of questions and — out of respect to the hundreds of B.C. families that have been struck by tragedy as a result of outbreaks in long-term care homes — we expect the government to provide answers and release the report," said Bond.

The Ministry of Health told another news outlet it is set to release the findings next week. It did not respond to CBC News by deadline.