Quebec still refusing to launch public inquiry into COVID-19 deaths

The Quebec government is on the defensive following a scathing report detailing the faults in the province's handling of its long-term care system (CHSLD) during the onset of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.

Penned by Quebec Ombudswoman Marie Rinfret, the report concludes that the system's vulnerable residents were largely an afterthought in the government's pandemic preparedness plans.

Some 4,000 residents died between February and June 2020 -- nearly 70 per cent of the COVID-19 deaths in Quebec during the first wave.

Rinfret's report and an ongoing coroner's inquiry into long-term care deaths have been at the heart of testy exchanges this week at the legislature.

This had led to the opposition's renewed demands for a public inquiry into the Coalition Avenir Quebec's pandemic response.

Premier François Legault has so far refused to launch a public inquiry, saying that the investigations launched by other independent officials will suffice.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov. 25, 2021.