Charges have been laid against Kensington Village long-term care home in London Ont., for its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 which infected both residents and staff, leading to the death of a registered nurse.
The Ontario Nurses Association announced Tuesday that the Ministry of Labour had laid three charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The Ministry of Labour declined to comment as the matter is now before the courts but did confirm the three charges are against Sharon Farms & Enterprises Limited c.o.b which owns Kensington Village.
The charges include failing to comply with section 52 (2), failing to provide one or more written notices of occupational illness to a director.
The company is also facing charges of failing to provide one or more written notices of occupational illness to a director and knowingly furnishing an inspector with false information.
“Kensington Village is a long-term care home that failed to maintain unexpired personal protective equipment and follow legislation requiring it to provide RNs with easy access to N95 respirators,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN.
“The home failed twice to provide timely notice to the Ministry of Labour, ONA and the Joint Health & Safety Committee that its staff had contracted COVID-19 at work, as required by the Act.”
Brian Beattie, 57, died on May 11, 2020, after contracting COVID-19 while working as a registered nurse at Kensington Village.
According to the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union (CFNU) Beattie was the first RN and eighth health-care worker to die of COVID-19 in Canada.
The ONA notes that ministry inspectors visited the home more than 10 times between May and June 2020 and issued a number of orders related to hygiene, cleaning, social distancing and training, but did not issue orders about access to personal protective equipment.
Beattie had made complaints about PPE being denied, the stockpile of N95s being expired and locked up to prevent their use, the ONA notes.
“This tragedy was preventable,” says McKenna.
“There were glaring violations at Kensington Village and ONA sincerely hopes that the mistakes this employer made are a lesson to other facilities to take occupational health and safety, and infection prevention and control seriously.”
McKenna said the ONA hopes these charges mean that Beattie’s death was not in vain and that the news that the home is being held to account will be of comfort to his family.
A statement from Kensington Village said they are evaluating the charges and working with their counsel on a formal response.
“It is important to note, that the charges that have been laid are not related to any employee’s death nor are they related to the availability of PPE for staff and residents,” the statement read.
“We’ll continue to work with our healthcare partners in our community to provide a safe and comfortable home for our residents and a safe and rewarding workplace for our staff.”
Global News has reached out to Beattie’s family for comment.