Ontario has launched a new long-term care “investigations unit” which complements the “toughest inspection and enforcement program in Canada,” the province says.
The 10-person team will be an “effective deterrent and tool” when escalated enforcement is required, the province said in a news release.
The unit is supported by a $72.3 million investment.
The investigators are designated as provincial offences officers and will investigate allegations around the 11 provincial offences under the Fixing Long-Term Care Act.
Allegations the unit will look into include failing to protect a resident from abuse or neglect, failing to comply with a ministry inspector’s orders, repeated and ongoing non-compliance, suppressing or falsifying mandatory reports, and negligence of corporate directors, the government said.
“While inspectors identify and address non-compliance under the Act, investigators determine if there are grounds that an offence under the Act has been committed, which if prosecuted could result in fines and/or imprisonment,” the release said.
Long-Term Care Minister Stan Cho said the investigators have the authority to “add more accountability” in long-term care and will help address the most serious acts of non-compliance.
“The new unit complements what is already the toughest inspection and enforcement program in Canada, helping give residents the safety and quality of care they need and deserve,” Cho said.
The unit’s work is as well as additional changes the government has introduced over the last two years in long-term care, which included doubling the number of inspectors, among other measures.
Ontario has one inspector for every two homes, making it a “leading province in terms of inspector per long-term care home ratio in Canada,” the government said.
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