January 13th, 2021

NDP repeats call for military help in long-term care

HAMILTON — Doug Ford is avoiding having the Canadian Armed Forces enter long-term care homes, and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that desperately needs to change as nursing homes all over the province cope with a humanitarian crisis.

On Wednesday, Ford evaded questions from media about when long-term care homes can expect to see help from the military, then brushed off the possibility in a statement.

“Why isn’t Doug Ford doing everything he can to make sure residents of long-term care are protected from the virus, and getting basic humanitarian help? We’ve heard stories of seniors having to call out to beg for water. Boots on the ground could provide more helping hands, and more comfort, to those suffering in brutally understaffed outbreaks,” said Horwath. “If I were premier today, I’d be on a blitz to recruit 10,000 new long-term care workers, I’d be calling in the Canadian Armed Forces, and I would deploy as much help as the Red Cross can offer.”

In December, the federal government provided Ontario funding for 20 Red Cross deployments in long-term care homes, but Ford appears to not to have used all that capacity.

The NDP, families of residents, long-term care doctors and the Ontario Health Coalition have been calling for the military to be brought in since at least December.

  • "We needed them here much before now and for some it's unfortunately too late, but there are still others in there that are fighting for their lives.” Jessica Wong, family of resident at Tendercare long-term care home, reported by CTV Toronto, Dec. 30, 2020
  • “We need to think outside the box, and if it means getting the military involved again, to help them, that probably should happen now." Dr. Silvy Mathew, Long-term care doctor, reported by CTV Toronto, Dec. 22, 2020
  • “The issue is that we're in such an emergency…There are so many homes with outbreaks that are growing extremely quickly, the death counts are mounting, and the hospitals are overstretched now.” Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition, reported by The Canadian Press, Jan. 1, 2021