Around 265 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members are assisting five long-term care facilities across the Greater Toronto Area, as they experience continued challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CAF members arrived in response to a Request for Assistance from the Province of Ontario.
According to the Government of Canada, the exact number of deployed personnel fluctuates, but there are approximately 265 medical and support personnel working in Ontario.
As requested by the Province, CAF members are now serving in:
- Orchard Villa (Pickering)
- Altamont Care Community (Scarborough)
- Eatonville (Etobicoke)
- Hawthorne Place (North York)
- Holland Christian Homes Grace Manor (Brampton)
“Conditions at these long-term care facilities and others across the country are being monitored by the provinces and CAF support may be reassessed as required,” the federal government said.
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The CAF’s support to these long-term care homes is intended as an interim measure to help Ontario and Quebec — who received help from 1,020 personnel in 20 long-term care homes — get through a critical situation over the short term.
“We know many Canadians are worried about their loved ones in these facilities. They are concerned about the health and the added stress of the isolation that our parents and grandparents are experiencing,” Harjit S.Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, said in a statement. “It is why when the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces are called to serve, they do so. The entire Defence Team has been working hard to support the requests from Ontario and Quebec.”
Sajjan also emphasized that Canadians can be assured that the CAF will provide “immediate support” to healthcare workers and the vulnerable populations within these facilities.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the federal government will look into better long term solutions for the facilities, which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“We must look to ensure our vulnerable are properly taken care of,” Trudeau said during the daily press conference.
“We must reflect on how we can ensure that essential workers can be properly paid, because right now they are economically vulnerable. We’ll have to look at this in the long-term.”
According to the Public Health Ontario Daily Epidemiologic Summary (iPHIS), there are 225 outbreaks with 681 resident deaths in long-term care homes, as of Thursday morning.