|WINDSOR-ESSEX — Workers at Village at St.Clair, a long-term care home in Windsor were told by the owners they won’t get an N95 mask unless they sign a waiver agreeing that the company isn’t liable for failing to give them a mask that fits. The Village at St. Clair, owned by for-profit corporation Schlegel Villages, is experiencing a devastating and ongoing outbreak with at least 53 residents and 31 staff members at the home testing positive for COVID-19.
Local NDP MPPs Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) and Taras Natyshak (Essex), obtained a copy of the waiver along with the Ontario Health Coalition and Unifor, and they say the demand is outrageous, and dangerous.
“This is a for-profit corporation looking out for its profits and liabilities instead of looking out for the vulnerable residents in the home, and the front line health care heroes that are working flat out to protect and care for them,” said Natyshak. “Everyone working in long-term care should be given access to properly fit-tested N95 masks,” said Gretzky. “Failing to do that is gambling with people’s lives.”
The waiver reads, in part, “I would like to get a N95 mask, recognizing that it may or may not fit my face properly.” Employees report being required to sign and date the form before being given access to a mask. N95 masks are required in a health care setting because they provide better protection than a surgical mask. Each health care worker requires a fit-test to determine which size and model of N95 fits correctly to form a seal around their face.
Natyshak and Gretzky joined a virtual press conference Wednesday with the Ontario Health Coalition and Unifor Local 2458, to call on the Ford government to take immediate action to take over the management of this home, and to guarantee access to properly fitted N95 masks for every staff member. “This outbreak is out of control, and the for-profit owners Schlegel Villages have failed to protect the residents and staff. Doug Ford’s government has the power to intervene, but they’re sitting on their hands while more staff and residents get infected,” said Gretzky.
The president and CEO of Schlegel Villages, James Schlegel, is a PC Party donor who sits on Ford’s Incident Management System (IMS) Long-Term Care Table, but he’s left residents and workers in his homes exposed to this deadly virus and is attempting to protect his own interests and profits.
“This is yet another example of why profiteering companies like Schlegel Villages can’t be trusted to provide the level of care and support that residents deserve. That’s why the NDP has released a plan to take the profit out of long-term care, and create a new, public and non-profit system where every dollar goes directly to residents — not to corporate profits,” said Natyshak.