Published January 3rd, 2021
Dear Minister Fullerton,
As you know, we held a town hall this evening for families who have loved ones residing at Tendercare Living Centre in Scarborough. At least 62 residents have died in this hard hit home during the 2nd wave of COVID-19. Across the Province the number is close to 3,000 deaths. These are human beings, loved ones who are dead under your watch due to failures by your government to take immediate action.
We are disappointed that you did not respond to our invitation to join the town hall so that families could ask you questions directly. Here is what the families told us:
- The home’s ongoing failure to communicate to families regarding the well-being of their loved ones’ conditions
- Residents continue to be deprived of proper care including lack of food and water
- Lack of sufficient staffing while many staff have already tested positive due to insufficient PPE
- Lack of information on vaccine rollout plan to Tendercare and long-term care homes
These are just some of the concerns we heard tonight. You would have heard them too if you had joined our town hall but I am sure you are quite aware of the crisis in these homes already.
Minister, it’s clear that Tendercare Living Centre is in a crisis that could have been prevented. There is no iron ring around the home.
We urge you to have compassion and immediately act in your capacity as the Minister of Long-Term care by using the $12 billion in unallocated funding to stabilize Tendercare Living Facility and other long-term care homes in trouble. The funding should go towards:
- Infection specialists in the homes
- Independent management
- An immediate increase of staffing (specifically clinical supports)
- Transparent communication to residents and families
- A vaccine rollout plan with a clear deadline
At this point, these urgent requests are not new. You received many pleas for action since the pandemic hit Ontarians last winter. While the pandemic has devastated many long-term care homes both internationally and across Canada, other jurisdictions took action after the 1st wave to protect their seniors ahead of this 2nd wave. Ontario did not.
These residents and families have been counting on you. Thus far, you have not fulfilled your responsibilities as the Minister of Long-Term Care. In fact, you’ve previously compared COVID-19 to the flu and recently blamed “society” for your ministerial failures.
If you still are unable to fulfil your duty to take every necessary action to keep long-term care residents safe, then do the right thing and resign from this role. Long-term care residents and their staff deserve better.
Member of Provincial Parliament
Dr. Vivian Stamatapoulos
Associate Teaching Professor
Ontario Tech University
You can view a PDF copy of the letter here.