Ford Govt. launching independent commission of long-term care system

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After recently promising a review into Ontario's long-term care system, the Ford Government is now committing to an independent, non-partisan commission.

Minster of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton said in a statement it will begin this fall. 

"Over the next several months, our government will be finalizing details of the commission including terms of reference, membership, leadership of the commission and reporting timelines," she said. "We have been clear the long-term care system in Ontario is broken. We must act quickly and decisively, and that is why an independent non-partisan commission is the best way to conduct a thorough and expedited review."

The government had been asked repeatedly this month if it would go beyond a review and commit to an inquiry, with Premier Doug Ford repeatedly saying his government's measures would be a top-to-bottom analysis. 

Premier Doug Ford faced multiple questions in the legislature Tuesday about not committing to an inquiry, but Ford argued it would take too long and the reforms have to happen faster. 

"We need to fix this now," he said. 

The president for the union which represents long-term care workers recently told NEWSTALK1010 that she'd believe a review when she sees it and that the issues in the system have been known for two decades, after repeated commissions and inquiries. 

In response to the commission news, the Ontario Long-Term Care Association said it supported the decision, thanking Premier Ford for the commitment. 

"But now is the time for action," CEO Donna Duncan said. "Ontario’s long-term care homes urgently need expedited capital redevelopment funding, interim investments for older homes to enable effective infection control, more supplies and rapid testing, continued human resources flexibility and increased support from homes’ medical directors and other primary care resources. Our priority must remain the health and safety of residents and the staff who care for them, and to support families now as they manage difficult, but important, measures like restricted visitation."