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Are Care Homes Doing Their Duty to Residents?

CTV’s W5 conducted a one year investigation into the conduct of staff-to-resident abuse and neglect in nursing homes across Canada in 2013. It found at least 1,500 cases of such abuse or neglect. It was noted that this number is likely higher, given high likelihood of under-reporting of incidents.

W5’s hidden camera captured abuse and questionable care which included:

  • Ontario workers pushing and roughly handling residents (this footage was obtained by concerned son who saw unexplained black eye and bruising);
  • an Alberta resident who was subject to rough handling and humiliation at the hands of two employees’;
  • in Saskatchewan there was explicit instructions that a patient should not be transferred but was, and was dropped by her aides, fracturing her spine in four places, it was also discovered she had a massive bedsore covering most of her back.

The episode link is here:


Not all Provinces have legislated or adopted a reporting system. Ontario has information on all incidents available online, while Quebec had no information available. W5 reports a breakdown of incidents by Province, are as follows:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador - 3
  • Prince Edward Island - 0
  • New Brunswick - 10
  • Nova Scotia - 36
  • Ontario - 1,111
  • Manitoba - 59
  • Saskatchewan - 30
  • Alberta - 113
  • British Columbia - 138
  • Northwest Territories - 1
  • Nunavut - 1

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk at page 369 of her 2015 report slammed the government for failing to crack down on nursing homes that flout the rules of care.

“Our audit found that delays by the Ministry in conducting complaints and critical-incident inspections and ensuring that homes correct deficiencies identified place residents at risk. We found that the Ministry often did not take timely action to ensure residents were safe and their rights were protected.”

The entire report can be found here:


Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins in January of 2017 stated that long-term care homes repeatedly refusing to comply with the rules for taking care of its residents will soon face fines. The Health Ministry will enact more powers to order nursing homes to improve care, such as adopting new “best practices” for treating skin and wound problems, and the power to suspend a nursing home’s license and put interim management in place.

The Saskatchewan Ombudsman Mary McFayden investigated the conduct of the Saskatchewan nursing home that was the subject of the W5 documentary and found that neither the Ministry of Health's program guidelines for special care homes nor the home’s own policies and procedures were followed in the resident’s care. Ombudsman McFadyen made 19 recommendations to help improve the facility’s care guidelines.

More recently the case of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, accused of killing residents of nursing home she worked as a registered nurse. The Toronto Star reports that prior to that she was fired from a Woodstock nursing home for a “medication error” that put the life of a resident at risk. The firing from the Long-term care home was reported to the College of Nurses of Ontario, which regulates Nurses. Yet Wettlaufer, continued to work until October 2016. She has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault of people in her care.

If you feel that the care your loved one is receiving is inadequate please contact Brown Law to investigate the matter.