Canada’s best documentaries say “talk” must take place about institutional care for seniors, but don’t call for public inquiry


There are now just under 67,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada with 4,620 deaths. Nearly 13,000 of these cases are linked to long-term care homes and just over 3,600 deaths concern elderly people living in these environments.

As many parts of the country struggle to keep ahead of the rapid and stealthy spread of the virus during these epidemics, Canada’s top doctors say it is a national tragedy. Dr. Theresa Tam says prevention and control of COVID-19 in high-risk populations is crucial to controlling this and future waves, as these epidemics increase mortality rates, accelerate spread and continue to spread in communities.

The Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada says that a national conversation about how we treat and house our seniors must take place. Dr. Howard Njoo says the shape of this national conversation is not for him to say. He had previously stated that an investigation into Canada’s long-term care homes was necessary, but then said for the record that he was not personally requesting a public inquiry. Njoo said it reflected what Minister of Health Patty Hadju had previously discussed about the need, after all this was over, to have a “national conversation”. The nature and forms it says must be determined.

Dr. Tam says such a conversation is essential to better manage and control another possible second wave or even a future pandemic of another virus. But she echoed her deputy saying that Health Canada would not speculate on the format it would take.

Tam concluded by saying that this was a great social conversation that was probably going to bring many separate conversations together, because there were so many people involved and “we have to do better as a nation”.


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