RICHMOND HILL, ON, May 19, 2020 /CNW/ - SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario, has issued the following statement from President Sharleen Stewart:
"We need a full public inquiry now, not later.
The 1,400 families who lost loved ones in Ontario's nursing homes deserve better than a political process designed to hide the failures of Doug Ford's government and his friends like Mike Harris who run for-profit long-term care corporations.
The families of frontline workers like Christine Mandegarian, Arlene Reid, and Sharon Roberts deserve the truth.
They deserve to know what steps weren't taken—and why—when Minister Fullerton was repeating the "iron ring" lie for weeks and weeks.
They deserve to know what companies like Chartwell, Extendicare, Sienna and Revera were actually doing while nurses and PSWs were crying out for PPE.
They deserve the truth that only a public inquiry can reveal.
It is clear to us that this commission can be neither truly independent, nor effective if it is not structured as a full public inquiry.
The Public Inquiries Act (2009) contains clear provisions about the powers and independence of a public inquiry and the commission that oversees it.
A commission is not independent if the government refuses to allow it to make its own rules and processes (Section 7).
A commission is not independent if the government determines which information is relevant to its mandate (Section 8).
A commission is not independent if the government restricts its ability to compel witnesses to participate in the Public Inquiry and issue summons for witnesses to testify under oath (Section 10).
A commission is not independent if the government removes its ability to use broad search powers, backed up by warrants, to collect information relevant to the inquiry (Section 13).
A public inquiry means a commission may hold public hearings, but only if authorized in the order creating the Inquiry (Section 14).
We need a public inquiry now, before a second wave of COVID-19 hits our communities.
Delaying a public inquiry puts lives at risk."
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union's members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. www.seiuhealthcare.ca
SOURCE SEIU Healthcare
For further information: For media inquiries, contact: Corey Johnson, SEIU Healthcare, Head of Strategic Communication, 416-529-8909, [email protected]