Ontario moves to protect long-term care workers testifying for COVID commission

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Nurses and personal support workers can now be granted anonymity when testifying for a commission examining Ontario's response to COVID-19 in long-term care homes.

Long-term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton says the government  has changed the terms of reference for the independent inquiry to ensure the workers don't fear reprisal from their employers.

Opposition critics called the move a good start, saying whistleblower protections should be strengthened across the sector.

The commission is investigating how the novel coronavirus spread in the long-term care system and will submit its final report on April 30, 2021.

In interim recommendations issued late last week, the commission said the province must address critical staffing shortages at long-term care homes as the second wave of the pandemic intensifies.

The province says there are currently 88 long-term care homes experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.

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