Prepare for protesters, Au Chateau board

On Tuesday, January 17th, demonstrators are gathering at the Au Chateau senior’s home in Sturgeon Falls to demand changes to visitation rules. The protest will begin at 6:00 p.m. at 100 Michaud Street in front of Au Chateau.

West Nipissing resident Rejean Venne, one of the organizers of the event, expects “a large crowd of at least 50 people,” with the common goal of pressuring Au Chateau’s board to “amend or revoke their visitation policy.”

As it stands, the policy “forbids unvaccinated (against Covid) caregivers from entering” the building, and have had this policy since December of 2021, Venne explained. Furthermore, Venne noted that this policy is unique to Au Chateau, as other regional long term care homes allow unvaccinated caregivers to visit.

For example, Venne outlined that Pioneer Manor in Sudbury updated its visitation policy this past October, so that “all visitors and caregivers must be tested but no vaccine is required” to visit. It’s a similar case with North Bay’s Cassellholme, Venne continued, as “unvaccinated caregivers can only be considered ‘general visitors’ but not denied entry.”

Venne also noted that “there are no ministry directives, health authority recommendation or any guideline in Canada” mentioning that long term care homes “should still restrict visitation rights” for caregivers “based on how many doses they have.”

The Government of Ontario’s website has a “Covid-19 guidance document” that outlines requirements for long-term care homes in the province. “All general visitors” can have access to homes, however, visitors “will need to follow the vaccination policy of the individual long-term care home.”

So Venne and other demonstrators want the Au Chateau board to revise its rules as well. The board is meeting at noon the day after the protest, and Venne has requested that a review of the policy be placed on the agenda for discussion. He has confirmed that the request has been received and will indeed appear on the meeting’s agenda.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca