Earlier today, July 29, Premier Doug Ford and Dr. Merilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, announced the launch of an independent commission into COVID-19 and long-term care in Ontario. Among the three commissioners who will conduct the investigation is Barry’s Bay native, Dr. Jack Kitts. Dr. Kitts retired last month as President and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital. The commission will look into how COVID-19 spread within long-term care homes; how residents, staff, and families were impactedl and the adequacy of measures taken by the province and other parties to prevent, isolate and contain the virus. The commission will also provide the government with guidance on how to better protect long-term care home residents and staff from any future outbreaks.
In appointing the three commissioners, Premier Ford said they were chosen for the expertise and experience they bring to addressing the commission’s mandate:
- Associate Chief Justice Frank N. Marrocco (Chair) ― appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 2005 and holds a distinguished career practising criminal law and civil litigation law spanning 33 years.
- Angela Coke ― served as a former senior executive of the Ontario Public Service where she spent more than 27 years committed to the transformation of government operations, consumer protection reform, and the development of a strong professional public service.
- Dr. Jack Kitts ― served as President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital from February 2002 until his retirement in June 2020. He is known nationally for his focus and expertise in patient experience, performance measurement and physician engagement.
This independent commission has the power to conduct an investigation, including compelling persons to give or produce evidence, issuing summons, and holding public meetings. The commission’s findings are delivered within the timeframes set out by the Minister of Long-Term Care in the Terms of Reference, allowing investigations to be completed in months, rather than years. The commissioners are expected to deliver their final report by April 2021.
Yelich,I.(2020,July29) Ontario Launches Independent Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission [media release]