Health minister looks to use new powers “to fullest extent” to increase safety in Ottawa nursing homes

Drake Fenton, The Ottawa Citizen

Ontario’s health minister has instructed staff to look at how newly acquired legislative powers can be used “to their fullest extent” in order to increase “safety and well-being” in Ottawa long-term care homes. Eric Hoskins’ comments follow a series of stories by this newspaper on Ottawa long-term care homes. Since 2012, there have been 163 reported cases of resident abuse, 2,033 instances of non-compliance with provincial legislation and at least 17 deaths that led to the homes involved being cited for non-compliance, an investigation by this newspaper found. “The operators of Ontario’s long-term care homes are entrusted with the care and safety of our loved ones,” Hoskins said in a statement. “With the passing of the Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients’ Act, new enforcement tools are now available to me as minister to ensure this trust is upheld. “I have directed my staff to look at how these new tools can be applied to their fullest extent to increase the safety and well-being of long-term care residents in Ottawa and across the province.” The Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients’ Act, or Bill 160, was passed earlier this month. The new enforcement tools mentioned by Hoskins include giving the ministry the power to fine homes up to $100,000 for non-compliance, along with giving the ministry the ability to suspend an operator’s licence and order interim management.

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