QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP’s critic for Seniors, Joel Harden, has sent the following open letter to Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho, calling on the Minister to initiate an investigation into Ontario retirement homes using sections of Ontario’s trespass law to ban family members from visiting their relatives.
Hon. Raymond Cho
Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility
Frost Building South
7 Queen’s Park Cres.
Toronto, ON M7A 1Y7
November 28, 2019
Dear Minister Cho,
I’m writing to request a full investigation into the use of trespass orders against family members in retirement homes, and for the results to be made public.
It was disconcerting to learn that some retirement homes are using sections of Ontario’s trespass law to ban family members from visiting their relatives when they have raised concerns about their loved ones’ living conditions. The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE), an organization specializing in legal services for seniors, has been very clear: the use of trespass orders to bar family members from retirement homes is illegal.
I was deeply moved by the situation of Mary Sardelis, who was banned from seeing her 97-year-old mother Voula for 316 days. The two were separated at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and even for Voula’s birthday.
Mary’s situation, however, is far from an isolated incident - it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Jane Meadus, a lawyer with ACE, estimates that she has received more than one call a week with complaints of retirement homes or long-term care facilities using trespass orders to bar family members from visiting.
It is vital for both individual cases and the overall practice to be investigated.
Under the Retirement Homes Act, the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility has the power to initiate an inquiry into this matter. Ultimately, you are responsible for ensuring that the safety, comfort and rights of retirement home residents are upheld.
Minister, you must act now and show that this government takes the well-being of vulnerable seniors and their loved ones seriously. I urge you to launch a comprehensive investigation without delay.
Official Opposition Critic for Seniors
MPP for Ottawa Centre