Lisa Gretzky MPP, for Windsor West

Government of Ontario

Gretzky: Ford government is breaching the human rights of care home residents by denying them access to their caregivers

Published on March 31, 2021
Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal has ruled the province has no authority to remove the rights of residents 
QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) asked ​the Ford government Wednesday to explain why they are continuing ​to breach the rights of thousands of congregate care residents by denying them access to their designated caregivers, and urged them to pass her More Than a Visitor Act without delay.
Last week, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario released a decision that shows how the premier, and his government’s inaction to ensure congregate care residents meaningful access to their essential caregivers, discriminated against a child with disabilities. 
“The Tribunal found that the child had been adversely affected, and that human rights protections do not go away in a pandemic. It shouldn’t be left up to each service provider to do the right thing, the government should have stepped up and legislated visitations to ease the adverse effects of isolation, and make it clear that residents should be allowed outside care homes for sunshine and fresh air,” said Gretzky. “With this decision from the Tribunal, why does this government continue to facilitate breaching the rights of thousands of congregate care residents in group homes, long-term care homes, and others across this province?,” Gretzky asked during question period Wednesday at the Ontario legislature.
Gretzky says this landmark decision from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario makes it clear, the province had no authority to unilaterally remove the rights of congregate care residents in the name of pandemic response. 
“Thousands of congregate care residents across the province have been denied meaningful access, or in many cases any access, to their designated care givers for over a year now. Many have been denied going outdoors for fresh air and sunshine.​"
Gretzky told MPPs that the Ford government can expect many more human rights violation decisions based on this precedent setting ruling, while they continue facilitate denying care home residents meaningful access to their family caregivers or confining them to their rooms. 
“The government has had a legislative solution in front of them since September 2020, one that they could pass today, to stop the human rights violations they continue to perpetuate. why won’t the Premier pass my More Than a Visitor act, and stop violating the Human Rights of residents in congregate care?"