Statement from Ontario PC Long-Term Care Critic Bill Walker on the public inquiry into the Wettlaufer case

“Ontarians are still shaken by the horrific actions of Elizabeth Wettlaufer that resulted in the deaths of eight innocent people. While the trial in the Wettlaufer case concluded over a month ago, with Wettlaufer pleading guilty to 14 different charges, Ontario families remain concerned for their loved ones living in nursing homes.

“We were disappointed it took as long as it did for the government to take action to dig deep into this mess. And a mess it is. Opposition, victims’ families, and the community had to wait weeks for the government to call for a public inquiry. Now Ontarians are going to have to wait two years for the results? This is a questionable decision by the Wynne Liberals. Why will the results of the inquiry not be released until July 2019 – well after the June 2018 provincial election? Is this timing merely a political decision designed to avoid public scrutiny? If so, this is unacceptable. There needs to be scrutiny of the system and results made public as soon as possible.

“The inquiry needs to dig down into what the system breakdown was and what systemic issues need to be resolved. Ontarians deserve to have the results of this inquiry as soon as possible to know that our long-term care system is reliable.

“Furthermore, there are still outstanding questions about the Wynne Liberals’ slow reaction to recommendations from the 2005 Casa Verde inquest into a double homicide at a long-term home in North York. So far, only one third of the 85 recommendations have been implemented. Is it possible that the Wettlaufer situation could been averted if all recommendations from this 2005 inquiry had of been implemented? How can we trust the Liberal government to ensure a proper inquiry in this case is performed, given the 2005 result?

“Ontarians need to know if vital system upgrades and legislative changes are required to ensure this tragedy is never repeated. Ontarians deserve to have the best standard of care possible for Ontario’s vulnerable senior population. They can’t afford to wait any longer.”