I sent the following letter to Premier Doug Ford on August 6.
Dear Premier Ford,
As the City Councillor for Bay Ward in Ottawa I have been approached by many residents regarding their concerns about one of our local Long-Term Care facilities: Carlingview Manor. This private facility, located in Bay Ward, was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 virus, having experienced the worst outbreak in the City of Ottawa, with more than 250 cases between residents and staff and 60 residents dying of COVID-19 between April 7 and June 18.
Since the state of emergency was declared back in March, I have received correspondence from family members and concerned citizens pleading with me to keep pushing for immediate change in the management of Carlingview Manor. I have heard about non-infected people being left in ward rooms beside patients infected with Covid-19 and patients left for hours in soiled clothing because of severe staffing shortages. Requests for information to management here about the health of loved ones have been met with “a wall of silence”.
I appreciate the province investigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Long-Term Care facilities with a special commission. However, the concerns regarding Carlingview Manor are systemic in nature. Red flags have been raised on the poor conditions at this privately-operated facility even before the pandemic began. With tragedies that we’ve seen over the past five months in long-term care homes, it is vital we listen to the voices of key advocates, patients’ families, health care professionals and front-line workers.
It is clear from what happened at Carlingview Manor and other privately-operated facilities that there is a need for proper governance, organization, clear standards, a principled approach that reflects the values and priorities of Ontarians and that supports equity and compassion.
Many lower-income families are unable to afford the premium costs for better homes or private rooms and have placed their loved ones in Carlingview Manor as a last resort due to long waiting lists.
With no other options, many of these families find themselves left with “unbearable grief and guilt” as they watch their loved ones suffer while management makes the poor decisions which have led to the critical state of the home.
To hear the spokesperson for Revera (Ottawa Citizen, June 3), the corporation which owns Carlingview Manor, blame this situation on the lack of government investment and state that this aging facility is not equipped to handle a pandemic is an accurate example of what happens when profit is the motive over care here.
I believe the government ought not to be supporting the expansion of another tier of care without clarity of purpose, nor should it support for-profit privatization, the absence of regulatory inspections and enforcement, and the lack of an accountable governance regime. This has proven to be unacceptable to the public.
There needs to be a proper consultation process regarding reform of home and community care in the public interest. There needs to be a governance and public accountability structure.
You should know that Ottawa Public Health’s leadership throughout the pandemic has been exemplary. I applaud the brave frontline staff who continue to go to work at Carlingview Manor and provide the best possible care they can in a leadership vacuum. The problem at Carlingview Manor can only be fixed when the provincial government makes the well-being of residents the top priority over profit.
I ask that Carlingview Manor be specifically examined by the province’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, including an examination of the complaints and concerns from residents and their families predating this pandemic.
Bay Ward Councillor | Conseillère quartier Baie
City of Ottawa | Ville d’Ottawa
cc Jeremy Roberts MPP, Ottawa West-Nepean
cc Hon. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care