The daughter of a man who lives in a Windsor long-term care home says she is disappointed with the Ford government's proposed legislation for changes to the long-term care system.
The Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021, would increase the power of long-term care home inspectors by allowing them to issue compliance orders on the spot. It would also allow the ministry to put in place a long-term care home supervisor to run a home.
Joanne Lebert lives in Ottawa, but her father lives in a Windsor care home. She didn't want to name the home because, she said, she doesn't take issue with that home specifically, but with the system in general.
"What they're proposing is what they should have been doing all along. But I think what is clearly lacking still is, you know, a lack of accountability for the way the crisis has been handled,' she said.
"We've seen long-term care facilities essentially not being held accountable for some of the most horrendous conditions for residents."
She said the rules aren't as much the issue, as how effectively those rules are enforced, and that enforcement should include criminal charges for some of the worst offences.
"These these are egregious, in my estimation, human rights violations and violations of the Bill of Rights that extend to criminal acts for repeat offenders," she said.
"And I think there needs to be serious consideration for criminal charges as well, not just penalties."
Other changes proposed
Under the legislation, maximum fines for provincial offences under the act will be doubled:
For individuals ($200,000 for first offence, $400,000 for second offence).
For corporations ($500,000 for first offence, $1,000,000 for second offence).
For board members (for-profit licensees: $200,000 for first offence, $400,000 for second offence; not-for-profit licensees: $4,000).
The bill would empower inspectors, not only directors, to issue compliance actions. It would allow the director of a home or the minister to suspend a licence and have a long-term care supervisor installed to take over the operation of a home without having to revoke a licence and close the home.
The bill would also prohibit any person convicted of an offence under the new act, or found guilty of professional misconduct detailed in regulations, from working for, volunteering for or sitting on the board of a licensee or long-term care home.
"Don't you do due diligence on the people you employ, like you should have nobody with those type of backgrounds ever under any circumstance looking after some of the most vulnerable populations?" Lebert said.
She also said the workers at the homes shouldn't be blamed entirely for the faults of the system.
"I visit my father, and I see and talk to those people at the time, and they're really quite dedicated. And I think that goes hand in hand as well with more staff, more resources for staff. So that too, I think, has to be addressed because everybody's working under pressure."
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