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Caressant Care lawyer argues ministry should be accountable for lack of funding

Elizabeth Wettlaufer is escorted by police from the courthouse in Woodstock, Ont, Monday, June 26, 2017. Dave Chidley / The Canadian Press

Money was top of mind during Tuesday’s hearings at the Long-term Care Homes Public Inquiry.

Karen Simpson, the former inspections director with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, was once again on the stand, where she fielded questions from a lawyer representing Caressant Care.

The inquiry was prompted by the crimes of convicted killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who, as nurse, murdered seven of her eight victims at the long-term care facility in Woodstock.

READ MORE: Deaths of Wettlaufer’s victims weren’t flagged for provincial inspection: probe

David Golden opened one of many questions to Simpson by noting the lengthy provisions in place to show how licensees are to be held accountable for proper funding of long-term care homes.

“What the public might expect is an accountability, where there is an corresponding obligation on the province to actually fund the system appropriately,” said Golden to the former inspections director.

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“The ministry does provide funding and has increased that funding on an ongoing basis,” replied Simpson.

She added that most licensees are compliant with the lengthy provisions Golden mentioned, adding that non-compliant licensees are always corrected.

READ MORE: Elizabeth Wettlaufer public inquiry pits nurses’ union against Caressant Care

Simpson told the hearing that 80 per cent of long-term care homes are categorized as having issues from time, but that these issues are self-resolved.

“I think it’s not as though licensees cannot comply with the requirements of [these provisions] with the funding they’re receiving,” added Simpson.

“Many, many, many long-term care homes are doing that.”

WATCH: Ex-nurse serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer sentenced

Click to play video: 'Ex-nurse serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer sentenced' Ex-nurse serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer sentenced
Ex-nurse serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer sentenced – Jun 26, 2017

The ongoing inquiry will hold public hearings through September.

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The inquiry aims to uncover how Wettlaufer went undetected during a killing spree that spanned nearly a decade.

Wettlaufer’s crimes of murdering eight patients in her care, and attempting to murder four others, only came to light when she confessed them to mental health workers and police.

— With files from Jacquelyn Lebel

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