Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario

MPPs call for Day of Mourning to recognize lives lost to COVID-19

Published on March 29, 2021

QUEEN'S PARK - "London observed a grim anniversary this weekend, with March 27 marking one year since the first reported COVID-related death in our community. Today, 186 grieving families in the London area are mourning the loss of a loved to COVID-19; 92 of those deaths were in long-term-care homes and another 14 were in retirement residences.

Just days after that first death in London, as the devastation of the first wave began to take its toll on vulnerable seniors, the Premier announced that an iron ring would be placed around long-term care, yet months after that promise a deadly second wave ripped through long-term-care homes, claiming more lives than the first.

It turns out there was no iron ring. There was no swift and urgent action to apply the lessons learned from the first wave. There was merely waiting for the vaccine, the government’s only strategy to prevent the heartbreak and suffering of the 3,892 seniors who died in long-term care without family members and sometimes without even a staff member to comfort them.

At least 11 long-term-care workers also lost their lives, including nurse Brian Beattie from London. Many of their co-workers are struggling with PTSD after the horrors they experienced on the front lines of COVID-19.

Ontarians are learning the truth about the war that these workers fought through, about the chronic understaffing, the shortage of PPE, the lack of IPAC training, especially in for-profit homes. They are learning, as the Ontario Nurses’ Association told the long-term-care commission, that “long-term-care homes were starved of funds after decades of neglect and were utterly unprepared to face the storm barrelling towards it.”

Speaker, these conditions could have been fixed, deaths could have been prevented, but the government didn’t want to spend the money. Every long-term-care resident, every worker deserves an apology from this government. Support this motion."