'Disturbing and offensive' verbal abuse at city-run care home caught on video

The City of Ottawa has fired three workers at one of its long-term care homes after four incidents of verbal abuse described as "disturbing and offensive" were captured on video.

City fires 3 workers at Peter D. Clark centre, orders 3rd-party review of all long-term care facilities

The City of Ottawa has fired three workers after 'disturbing' incidents of verbal abuse at a city-run long-term care facility were captured on video, councillors learned Thursday. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

The City of Ottawa has fired three workers at the municipally run Peter D. Clark Long Term Care Centre after four incidents of verbal abuse described as "disturbing and offensive" were captured on video.

A video camera in the resident's room captured the abuse that occurred in late August and early September. The city immediately fired the employee involved, as well as two other workers who witnessed the abuse but did nothing.

We're sending a clear message to staff that it will not be tolerated.- Janice Burelle, GM, community and social services

Janice Burelle, the general manager of community and social services, said the city alerted police to the situation.

"We're sending a clear message to staff that it will not be tolerated. And if you protect or cover for others, that is equally unacceptable," Burelle said.

Burelle would not describe the videos of the abuse, but said she was "extremely upset" when she saw them.

News of the incidents follow an order by Ontario's Health Ministry to come up with plans to improve the city-run facilities after several investigations into neglect and abuse since 2015.

But this latest evidence of abuse appears to have been so disturbing that the city has ordered a separate, third-party audit of the facilities.

'It's shaken my confidence'

News of the incidents coincides with consultations with residents, families and volunteers at all four of the city's long-term care homes.

Coun. Diane Deans is chair of the community and protective services committee, which oversees the care homes. She said she was caught off guard by the new allegations.

"I felt that the extra steps the staff were taking had turned the page and that we were on to a better future," Deans said. "But this is ... very, very disturbing to me, and I'm sure to my colleagues. And it's shaken my confidence."

This is the sixth serious allegation of abuse at the city-run homes since 2015.

With files from Joanne Chianello