ONTARIO-The Ontario government says it has created a new long-term care Investigations unit.
“Ontario’s long-term care homes who are providers of affordable housing and specialized care are committed to the well-being of their residents and providing high-quality care. There is zero tolerance for abuse. Major transformation is happening across the province as homes seek to replace older buildings and create new models of emotion-focused and person-centred care. We look forward to the province’s continued support in addressing long-standing systemic issues including a significant staffing shortage across the health care system and the need to rebuild Ontario’s older long-term care homes.” said Donna Duncan, CEO, Ontario Long Term Care Association.
Officials say the new unit is now active and will investigate allegations such as:
- failing to protect a resident from abuse or neglect,
- repeated and ongoing non-compliance,
- failing to comply with ministry inspector’s orders,
- suppressing and/or falsifying mandatory reports, and
- negligence of corporate directors.
“These new investigators have the authority to add more accountability in the long-term care sector and will help address the most serious forms of non-compliance,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Long-Term Care. “The new unit complements what is already the toughest inspection and enforcement program in Canada, helping give residents the safety and quality of care they need and deserve.”
The newly appointed investigators completed comprehensive training over 19 weeks, consisting of in-class training, self-study modules and field experience. The training covered all aspects of the inspections program, the relevant legislation and regulation, investigative techniques such as interviewing, search warrant and report writing, as well as court procedures.
The investigators are designated as Provincial Offences Officers under the Provincial Offences Act and will investigate allegations of offenses under the Fixing Long-Term Care Act. While inspectors identify and address non-compliance under the Act, investigators determine if there are grounds that an offence under the Act has been committed, which if prosecuted could result in fines and/or imprisonment.
“The creation of this new investigations unit under the Fixing Long Term Care Act marks an important step forward to continue protecting Ontario’s long-term care home residents,” said Attorney General, Doug Downey. “By providing investigators with the ability to refer cases to prosecutors as needed, this team will help to improve compliance with the Act, keep residents safe and provide comfort and certainty to residents and their families.”
The Investigator and Senior Investigator positions will investigate allegations of offences under the Fixing Long-Term Care Act and make recommendations where appropriate for enforcement action, up to and including prosecution.