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Protest against license renewal planned outside Pickering’s Orchard Villa

Posted: July 13, 2021

(July 13, 2021)

By: DurhamRadioNews.com

Activists and families are planning a protest near Orchard Villa, a Pickering long-term care home that was ravaged by COVID-19.

On Wednesday at noon, protestors are expected outside the Valley Farm Road facility.

The groups are opposed to the Ford government’s proposal to grant the home’s owners a 30-year license extension and green light a major, 87-bed expansion.

More than 70 residents died from COVID-19 at Orchard Villa, as a major outbreak swept through the home.

In the weeks that followed, the military was called in and the government took over management of Orchard Villa.

A scathing military report on the home detailed bug infestations, a lack of hygiene for residents, poor infection control practices and other potentially dangerous conditions.

“Long-term care homes are funded by the public and the residents and they are supposed to care for the vulnerable. In every regard Orchard Villa and their corporate owners Southbridge failed our families,” said Cathy Parkes of the Families of Orchard Villa. “We, the families are outraged that the Ford government plans to give Orchard Villa another license and an expansion and we will do everything in our power to stop it.”

“The owners of this long-term care home have never been made accountable in any way for the terrible suffering of the residents and families,” added Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “The Ford government could have fined them. It could have revoked their license. It is despicable that instead the Ford government is actually proposing to reward them with a new 30-year license and expansion.”

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