NDP: Wettlaufer probe should look into long-term care quality, staff levels, funding

Ontario's New Democrats say they want to expand the scope of a public inquiry into safety and security in the province's long-term care homes.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Thursday that the party has introduced a private member's bill that will ask the government to broaden its approach while reviewing the system.

In August, the province launched a public inquiry into the policies, procedures and oversight of long-term care homes.

The review will focus on systemic issues that may have contributed to the assault and deaths of residents under the care of nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer.

NDP Long-Term Care and Seniors' Affairs critic Teresa Armstrong says these issues and families have been ignored for too long.

"It’s time for a clear understanding of the issues in seniors long-term care – when we find the root causes of the problems, we can fix them," she said.

Wettlaufer, 50, was convicted of eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault in connection to the deaths of residents under her care in three southwestern Ontario nursing homes.

The NDP bill would also require the inquiry to expand its focus to include quality of care, staffing levels and government funding of long-term care homes if passed by the legislature.