Emergency Order Allows Ontario Government to Manage Long-Term Care Homes

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The Ontario government has taken numerous actions to address the unique risk facing long-term care homes trying to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. These actions, which have been discussed in greater depth in earlier Focus Alerts, have included the implementation of several emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, restricting the movement of staff between multiple homes, addressing work deployment measures, and enabling the redeployment of hospital staff to long-term care homes.

On May 13, 2020, the Ontario government issued emergency Order O. Reg. 210/20, Management of Long-Term Care Homes in Outbreak, allowing the province to issue mandatory management orders pursuant to section 156 (1) of the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (LTCHA) for long-term care homes struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak.

The emergency Order specifically provides that the Director is authorized to make a management order if at least one resident or staff member in the long-term care home has tested positive for COVID-19 in a laboratory test.  The government’s news release notes that a long-term home may require additional management assistance if they face challenges such as a high number of cases among residents or staff, a high number of deaths, an outbreak that has not yet been resolved, significant staffing issues or outstanding requirements from infection prevention and control assessments. Decisions regarding when and where to assign additional management support will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The authority to make mandatory management orders applies despite any requirement or ground set out in the LTCHA, its General Regulation (O. Reg. 79/10), and any other statute, regulation, order or policy. The mandatory management order may also set out the name of the person who is to manage the long-term care home, which the government notes, could be any person, including a corporation or hospital.

For more information on your rights and obligations as an employer dealing with COVID-19 and other related issues, please contact Vicky Satta at 613-940-2753Porter Heffernan at 613-940-2764André Champagne at 613-940-2735Lynn Harnden at 613-940-2731Raquel Chisholm at 613-940-2755 or J.D. Sharp at 613-940-2739