Loading articles...

Ontario's top doctor, government ministers to appear before long-term care commission

Last Updated Feb 19, 2021 at 10:27 pm EST

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, attends a news conference in Toronto, on Monday, January 27, 2020, as officials provide an update on the coronavirus in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ontario’s top doctor will be among several government officials to appear before the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission next week.

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, is to appear before the commission on Monday, February 22 followed by Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott on February 24 and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, on February 26th.

At this time Premier Doug Ford is not on the commissions witness list.

The commission, led by the Superior Court’s associate chief justice Frank Marrocco, is tasked with investigating why nursing homes were hit so hard by coronavirus and whether the province did enough to prevent and contain its spread.

It is scheduled to submit its final report on April 30, 2021.

RELATED: Ontario rejects long-term care commissioners’ appeal for more time for inquiry

Ford has declined to say whether the commission’s recommendations will be binding, which has prompted critics to question the value of the initiative.

So far the commission has said the province must spend more money, on a permanent basis, so that long-term care homes can hire more personal support workers and nurses. The commissioners also said the government should immediately mandate and formalize relationships between the homes, hospitals and public health units, as well as strengthen their infection prevention and control protocols.

According to provincial health data, more than 3,800 residents of long-term care have died from COVID-19 with the number of deaths in the second wave already surpassing the total of those who died during the initial wave.