KANATA-CARLETON – Ontario New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath is calling for the removal of the minister of long-term care, Kanata-Carleton MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton.

Horwath made the announcement today saying Fullerton needs to go for her “repeated failure to keep seniors safe in her post.”

Kanata-Carleton MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton. File photo
NDP leader Andrea Horwath is asking for the removal of Minister of Long Term Care, MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton. File photo

Horwath’s call comes after the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission found “long-term care (LTC) homes were forgotten in the initial provincial plans to control the spread of COVID-19 until residents started dying.”

In its interim report Friday (Oct. 23), the commission also urged the province to implement recommendations from a long-term care staffing study released in July.
  
“People in long-term care are once again losing their lives amid the second wave of COVID-19, and there’s just too much at stake for (Premier Doug) Ford to keep giving the minister chances, when she keeps leaving seniors unprotected,” Horwath released in a statement today (Oct. 26). “We now know that the government ignored long-term care in its planning and response to the first wave, and I’m deeply concerned that Mr. Ford and his long-term care minister are doing the same thing all over again.”

As of Sunday, more than 1,900 residents have died in Ontario long-term care homes, and 82 long-term care homes have had a COVID-19 outbreak.

“It never should have come to this,” Horwath said. “We are in the second wave, but we have fewer staff in long-term care homes than we did in the first wave. But Mr. Ford and his long-term care minister have been pinching pennies to save a buck. The long-term care system has been getting worse and worse for years. Now that broken system isn’t getting the urgent help and support it needs to stop tragedy after tragedy.”
 
Horwath says that if she were premier, she’d be “hiring thousands of personal support workers, putting infection control specialists in every home, and implementing every recommendation from the LTC commission to date.”