Union Disputes Claim Long-Term Health Care Inspectors Refused to Work


The unions representing workers that inspect long-term health care facilities in Ontario are firing back.

That's after comments from Premier Doug Ford Thursday that imply part of the "deplorable conditions" released in a recent report is due unions advising some staff to not enter facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This was in April during the peak of the peak of COVID-19 and all heck was breaking loose and they were nervous about their families and their health; I get it," he said.

Unifor Local 2458 represents front-line workers in Windsor-Essex.

President Tullio DiPonti says staff was committed to battling the pandemic with very few exceptions.

"We had some members who had underlying health issues. They decided to go to their doctor and they were advised that they shouldn't be going in there in case there was an outbreak," he says.

DiPonti says even before the pandemic hit homes, every department was understaffed and the union repeatedly raised the issue with officials.

"For the premier to try to blame the workers in regards to not having enough staff is just bogus; that's a complete lie," added DiPonti.

In one example, he says during the day there is typically one personal support worker for 18 patients and two for an entire facility at night.

"For profit home owners are more than happy to work short because they will make more money. Shame on him for trying to blame the workers, the ones who put their lives on the line and went to work and tried to save as many people as they can," he says. "It was a failure by this government and nobody else."

DiPonti tells AM800 News unions have been warning the minister of long-term care constantly in regards to staffing shortages since the Ontario PC's took office.

According to a report from CTV News, inspectors may not have caught issue anyway.

Advocacy group Can Age says the Ford government "rolled back" the inspection process when it took office.