The Ontario Government has handed down details of an independent commission into COVID-19 and long-term care and the impacts on residents, families, and staff. The commission was first announced on May 27.
Three commissioners have been appointed to this endeavour. Associate Chief Justice Fran N. Marrocco will serve as chair of the commission and brings with him 33 years in experience in criminal law and civil litigation. Angela Coke will also serve as a commissioner, having served as a former senior executive of the Ontario Public Works Service for over 27 years. Dr. Jack Kitts is the third member of the team; he has served as President and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital for 18 years and is known across the country for his expertise in patient experience, performance measurement and physician engagement.
The commission has the power to conduct a public investigation, including compelling witnesses or evidence, as well as holding public meetings. It will deliver its findings to the Ministry of Long-Term Care in a final report, expected by April 2021.
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“As Premier, I made a commitment to our long-term care residents and their families that there would be accountability and justice in the broken system we inherited,” said Premier Ford. “Today, we are delivering on that promise by moving forward with a transparent, independent review of our long-term care system. We will do whatever it takes to ensure every senior in the province has a safe and comfortable place to call home.”
Many long-term care homes were devastated by COVID-19 early in the pandemic, leading to a variety of safeguards after-the-fact. To date, 1,844 residents of long-term care homes across Ontario have died in connection to COVID-19.