Statement from the Commissioner on the launch of the Independent Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission

Statement from the Commissioner on the launch of the Independent Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission

July 29, 2020

29 July, 2020

I would like to congratulate the Associate Chief Justice Frank N. Marrocco (Chair), the former senior executive of the Ontario Public Service, Angela Coke, and Dr Jack Kitts for their appointment to serve as commissioners to lead the Independent Commission investigating Long-Term Care and COVID-19.

(July 29, 2020) I would like to congratulate the Associate Chief Justice Frank N. Marrocco (Chair), the former senior executive of the Ontario Public Service, Angela Coke, and Dr Jack Kitts for their appointment to serve as commissioners to lead the Independent Commission investigating Long-Term Care and COVID-19.

I am confident that their vast expertise will enable them to fulfill the mandate they were given by the government to provide advice on how to better protect long-term care home residents and staff from any future outbreaks. I wish them much success in their efforts to ensure that long-term care homes in Ontario provide high-quality care and are safe.

I have written to the commissioners, asking for an opportunity to discuss further how Ontario’s Francophonie will be reflected in the context of their investigation.

Although I expected that at least one Francophone would be among the newly appointed Commissioners, I trust those appointed will conduct an exhaustive review of all issues, including those specific to Francophones. I will closely monitor the Commission’s investigation in this regard as it evolves.

I also communicated to the Premier, today, that I am concerned about the Terms of Reference issued by the government for the Commission that do not include any explicit expectations regarding the offer of French language services or that any consideration is to be given to issues specific to Francophones.

I also informed the Premier that I am concerned that the Terms of Reference allow the Commission to issue a report in one language only, as reflected in the provision below:

The Commissioners shall also ensure that the final report is delivered in both English and French at the same time; however, if, in the opinion of the Commissioners, the health and safety of the public would not be served by delaying the delivery of the report and only one language version is ready, the Commissioners may deliver the report in only one language. If the report is delivered in only one language, the other language version shall be delivered as soon as possible.
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I strongly recommended to the Premier that he ensure that the Commission’s report is produced in French and English simultaneously to avoid any delay. I also asked that the government explicitly communicate its expectations regarding the offer of French language services to the Commission.

I will follow the Commission’s investigation carefully.

Kelly Burke
Deputy Ombudsman and French Language Services Commissioner