Quebec needs action on health system, not another COVID-19 inquiry, commissioner says


Published January 19, 2022 at 11:56 am

MONTREAL — Quebec’s health and welfare commissioner says the province doesn’t need a public inquiry into the high death toll in long-term care homes during the pandemic’s first wave.

Joanne Castonguay told reporters today after releasing her report into senior care that between her investigation, the coroner’s inquest, and the probe by the ombudswoman, Quebec has enough information to make changes to its health system.

Castonguay’s comments are in conflict with Quebec’s opposition leaders, who for months have been calling for a public inquiry to investigate the 4,836 deaths in elder care and long-term care between February 2020 and July 2020.

The commissioner presented the main findings of her report today, which concludes the province was ill prepared to endure the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and that major reforms to the health system are necessary.

She is recommending that care and other services offered to seniors become a priority and that the government strengthen the strategic role of public health.

Castonguay had touched on some of the recommendations in September, when she issued a preliminary report describing a disorganized and poorly evaluated health system for seniors, which she said led to a high COVID-19 death toll in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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