Canadian Lawyer

July/August 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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24 FEATURE LONG-TERM CARE "There needs to be a reckoning," Miller says, "I'm telling at least the people who are contacting me to make sure that they're in touch with public health and to write to their MPP. That is where we will see a measure of account when this is all said and done." May says he hopes for a nationwide inquiry involving all levels of government. He says his own experience going up against a care home and professional regulators has demonstrated a need for widespread advocacy on behalf of residents and their families who might feel isolated and "bullied" by the systems that don't want to hear their complaints otherwise. Meadus says she hopes the scope of the inquiry is broad enough, since the law gives any commission that could be established to conduct a public inquiry a significant degree of latitude in setting its scope. The last time such a commission was formed was in the wake of the conviction of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, a serial killer who murdered residents of care homes while working as an RN, and Meadus says that the scope of that commission's inquiry was too narrow and focused on the murders themselves without asking broader, systemic questions. Vaughan says long-term care homes and the appropriate government and regulatory agencies will need to review what happened in these facilities during the pandemic. She says, however, that the findings of the inquiry around the Wettlaufer murders were that, despite the system's vulnerabilities, the regulatory system had strengths that could be built on. She says that any broader inquiry needs to come from evidence-based answers to the question of whether the poor outcomes during this pandemic are particular to individual operators, a matter of chance or the result of a policy failure. Miller says she hopes that the experiences of the pandemic in these homes aren't lost in public memory or in the minds of the legal community. "My hope is that this is not just going to fall through the cracks and get forgotten," Miller says. "This has really highlighted the serious deficiencies that have existed for years, in fact, decades in our long-term care system. And I really hope that our legislature starts to take a very serious look at this because it requires attention from all sides. It requires attention from lawyers like me who are going to hold the powers that be to account in a lawsuit context, but also from our government, from the public, from the media, everyone. This is sort of a multi-faceted, full [frontal] attack really to look at the system that has been failing our elderly for much longer than COVID-19." At Pallett Valo LLP we give you what you need, not what you don't. With our flexibility and the right expertise in a variety of business law areas, we provide you with a legal solution that is tailored to suit you – all without compromising service or quality. If you want legal representation that's just the right fit for you, try on our Right-sized Thinking®. 2019-20 TOP 10 O N TA R I O R E G I O N A L F I R M The Right Fit Matters Right-sized Thinking® • 1-800-323-3781 •

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