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Bill Kelly: We need answers about long-term care

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at his daily briefing at the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ont., on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at his daily briefing at the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ont., on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jack Boland POOL IMAGE

The government of Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced a commission into concerns about long-term care facilities in Ontario, but is it the right way to go?

Many observers feel that a government commission is the wrong way to address a critical problem, which has become a critical crisis in Ontario’s long-term care facilities.

READ MORE: Ontario to hold independent commission into long-term care home system

Government commissions tend to work with the parameters that the government sets for them, and there’s the rub: if the government itself is part of the problem, it should not be setting the agenda for the investigation.

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Let’s not forget that the Ford government cut the funding for crucial inspections of these facilities last year; only nine resident-quality inspections of all the long-term care facilities in Ontario took place last year, and that’s not the kind of oversight that’s necessary.

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What is needed is an independent public inquiry into why 48 per cent of the COVID-19 deaths in Ontario were residents of these long-term care facilities.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Ontario Long Term Care Association calls on province to commit to public inquiry

The Ford government is by no means totally responsible for this tragic consequence, but neither has it shown that it can stake the moral high ground on this issue.

COVID-19 didn’t create the problems with long-term care, but it certainly exposed them.

Turn the investigation over to non-partisan experts; let the caregivers and families have their say in a public forum.

We’re bound to hear some uncomfortable truths, but it’s the only way to solve a crisis that’s gone on for far too long.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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