Lisa Gretzky MPP, for Windsor West

Government of Ontario

Visitation guidelines will do little to help residents separated from their families

Published on September 3, 2020

WINDSOR – MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West), NDP Critic for Community and Social Services, has released the following statement in response to the Ford Government’s updated guidelines for group homes and residential care settings:
“After six months of forced separation and isolation for residents in group homes, the Ford government has quietly updated the Visitor’s Guidelines for Congregate Living Settings to allow for some visits to resume under extremely rigorous conditions. Despite the fact that just yesterday the Ford government allowed all family caregivers into long-term care homes beginning Sept. 9, they continue to impose harsh, and in some cases impossible, rules on people with disabilities and their families.  
Some group homes and agencies may take these new guidelines and decide to allow more visits, not all will. These are guidelines, not policies. Despite no base funding increases in over a decade for support agencies, the Ford government has not increased funding to developmental services agencies to help facilitate these visits, and instead is threatening to take away the visits if people with disabilities cannot follow the complex rules, and if group homes don’t have the resources to comply. It’s despicable, and displays a total lack of awareness of accessibility needs.  
For months I have been working with advocates and experts to pressure the government to recognize the rights of residents and patients in congregate care settings, and ensure safe access to essential caregivers. I tabled a motion in the Ontario legislature, calling for an Essential Caregiver Strategy. Yet for six months the government has ignored these pleas and expert advice. 
To come out with a half-baked plan, which puts incredible pressure on individuals and group homes and still doesn’t fully address their concerns, is outrageous. We will not give up until the Ford government respects the rights of these families. When the legislature resumes, this will remain my top priority – we can never let this happen again.”