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Letter to Director of Long Term Care

July 27, 2020

Mr. Dean Lett

Director, Long Term Care

Community & Social Services

Ottawa, ON

Re: July 23, 2020 Directive Suspending Visits at Peter D. Clark LTC Home

Dr. Mr. Lett On behalf of the Peter D. Clark Family & Friends Council, I am responding to your the above email notification suspending indefinitely visits to the Peter D. Clark Home. That announcement followed the Ontario Chief Medical Officer’s directive dated July 15 allowing the resumption of indoor and outdoor visits (subject to restrictions regarding negative testing and use of PPE).

The government’s decision to reopen was informed by not only intense public input but also by a petition from the Justice Centre’s for Constitutional Reform with the input from two provincial and two national health care organizations.

In summary, the Justice Centre’s brief challenged the decision to continue excluding family caregivers “who provide necessary care to elderly and vulnerable relatives who have always been caregivers” who provide necessary care to elderly and vulnerable relatives who have always been considered part of the health care team”. The legal challenge of the proponents is based upon infringement of residents’ Charter of rights to life, liberty and security of the person.

Needless to say, Dr. Williams directive was greeted with deep gratitude and applause in every corner of the province. It had been just over four months since essential caregivers had direct contact with their institutionalized loves ones.

It was therefore with great dismay that we received on July 23 your notification that “the home will not be able to resume indoor and outdoor visits until the precautions are lifted”. From the information provided to the public visits are banned for an indefinite period because a health care worker whose test result was originally inconclusive had provided care to a small and identifiable segment of the PDC community. Subsequently, upon retesting, the result returned was negative. What issue then, is the decision to take “precautions” by excluding visitors of all stripes for an indefinite period.

Neither a scientific nor epidemiological basis has been offered in support of the purported need to take “precautions”.

It is our considered opinion that this decision exceeds the Ottawa Public Health authority, as a government agency providing health care to long term care residents.

We support the Justice Centre’s position that it violates the rights of residents to life, liberty and security of the person as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Any perceived need to violate those rights is not justifiable, when compared to the enormous resulting damage. On behalf of our residents and their families we urge you to recognize that, although they lack a voice to speak out, the constitutional rights of our residents have not lapsed. Therefore, we make this urgent appeal on their behalf that City of Ottawa Public Health remove immediately, the withdrawal of visits by essential caregivers at Peter. D. Clark Centre. We look forward to your consideration and response.

Council Members

Family & Friends Council

Peter D. Clark Long Term Care Home

9 Meridian Place Ottawa, ON K2G 6P8

c.c. Dr. David Williams

Dr. Vera Etches

Shelley Kuiack

Council Members

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