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Unifor, others call for action after home outbreak

Posted: December 17, 2020

(December 16, 2020)

By: Mark Brown,

The Village At St. Clair, July 25, 2014, three days before it officially opens. (photo by Mike Vlasveld)

Opposition MPPs have joined union and health representatives in calling on the government to protect health care workers.

In the wake of a major outbreak at the Village of St. Clair long-term care facility in Windsor, the cries have gotten louder for action. As of Wednesday afternoon, at least 53 residents and 25 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak joined members of the Ontario Health Coalition and the Windsor-Essex Health Coalition for a media conference Wednesday, demanding that the provincial government step in and take steps to protect health care workers.

Unifor 2458 president Tullio DiPonti, who also participated in the conference, said the union’s national president, Jerry Dias, wants the Ford government to take strong action against the home.

“He did call out for the government to suspend this home’s licence and take over this home, because of what’s happening,” said DiPonti. “Obviously, we’re very concerned about our staff and the residents who live in this facility, and Jerry wants to make sure that everybody stays safe.”

The union represents workers at the Village at St. Clair. DiPonti earlier said that they were assured employees would have access to the N-95 masks, but he has expressed disappointment in the amount of time it has taken for workers to get the PPEs.

Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition, and former Essex MP Tracey Ramsey of the Windsor-Essex Health Coalition, also participated in the Zoom call. Mehra said it is more important than ever that the government, and the local health unit, make the call to step in.

“Both the province and the local health unit have the power to intervene here,” said Mehra. “We don’t want to get caught in a shell game, but that looks like what may emerge.”

In a note to family members posted on its official website, Schlegel says the home has gotten help from its support staff in Kitchener.

“Everyone is working together to gain a full understanding of the scope of the outbreak while supporting all of the residents,” read the update.

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