The man who headed the Walkerton tainted water enquiry will now head a new enquiry into the state of the Long-Term Care system in Ontario. Associate Chief Justice Frank N. Marrocco who will chair the enquiry was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 2005 and practised criminal law and civil litigation law over 33 years. The commissioners will investigate how COVID-19 spread within long-term care homes, how residents, staff, and families were impacted, and the adequacy of measures taken by the province and other parties to prevent, isolate and contain the virus. The commission will also provide the government with guidance on how to better protect long-term care home residents and staff from any future outbreaks.
Announcing the appointments Premier Doug Ford remarked, “I made a commitment to our long-term care residents and their families that there would be accountability and justice in the broken system we inherited, today, we are delivering on that promise by moving forward with a transparent, independent review of our long-term care system. We will do whatever it takes to ensure every senior in the province has a safe and comfortable place to call home.”
The other members of the commission are:
Angela Coke ― who served as a former senior executive of the Ontario Public Service where she spent more than 27 years working on the transformation of government operations, consumer protection reform, and the development of a strong professional public service.
Dr. Jack Kitts ― served as President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital from February 2002 until his retirement in June 2020. He is known nationally for his focus and expertise in patient experience, performance measurement and physician engagement.
This independent commission has the power to conduct an investigation, including compelling persons to give or produce evidence, issuing summons, and holding public meetings. The commission’s findings are delivered within the timeframes set out by the Minister of Long-Term Care in the Terms of Reference, allowing investigations to be completed in months, rather than years. The commissioners are expected to deliver their final report by April 2021.