DURHAM — Oshawa NDP MPP Jennifer French asked the Ford government when it will start serving the needs of seniors, rather than the interests of for-profit long-term care companies, noting that Treasury Board president Peter Bethlenfalvy reportedly denied funding requests to protect seniors from COVID-19 even as a nursing home tragedy was developing in his own community at Orchard Villa.
During Wednesday's question period, French raised inspection reports showing that the Ford government knew about the horrible conditions at homes like Pickering's Orchard Villa for years. Yet, according to media reports, Bethlenfalvy refused the Minister of Long Term Care's request for funds to support long-term care homes as the pandemic began.
"Folks in Pickering now know that the awful history of complaints and non-compliance at Orchard Villa, where 78 people have died, were well known to this government for years," French said.
The Ford government has not only failed to pull Orchard Villa's license and refused the NDP's calls for a public, judicial inquiry into long-term care, but has passed legislation that could make it harder for families to access justice against companies that own long-term care homes.
"Over 1,800 of Ontario’s COVID-19-caused deaths have been in long-term care, and the Ford government is doubling down on playing politics," said French. "I'm not playing. I stand with the families and seniors and ask when this self-serving government will starting serving seniors and their loved ones."