Retirement homes regulator revokes licences of 6 homes connected to Martino families

Ontario's retirement homes regulator has issued orders revoking the licences of six homes connected to the Martino families.

Revocation date set for June 1, 2021 to allow transition plan for residents

The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority has revoked the licence for Dundas Retirement Place and five other facilities connected with the Martino families. (Google Maps)

Ontario's retirement homes regulator has issued orders revoking the licences of six homes connected to the Martino families.

The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) says the licences for Cathmar Manor, Dundas Retirement Place, Greycliff Manor, Montgomery Retirement Home, Northview Seniors' Residence and Sheridan Lodge will be revoked as of June 1, 2021.

In a media release announcing the decision, the RHRA said it believes the licensees of the homes "no longer meet the criteria" to hold a retirement home licence.

"Every retirement home resident in Ontario deserves to live in dignity and safety, and it is RHRA's job to ensure that homes follow the rules and meet the criteria for licensing," said Kathryn Chopp, director of communications and stakeholder relations.

"Any home that cannot demonstrate that they can reliably provide or facilitate care for residents will not be allowed to hold a licence, and these homes are an example of that."

The regulator goes on to say it considered factors including compliance and financial issues and the way they could affect the health, safety and welfare of retirement home residents.

Chopp notes residents of the homes may have questions about how they'll be impacted, adding the six-month delay is intentional.

"The Registrar has set the revocation date for June 1, 2021 to allow the licensee to manage an orderly transition and provide some housing certainty for residents during the challenging circumstances created by the pandemic," she said. 

"RHRA will continue to closely monitor the homes in cooperation with community partners to ensure residents are receiving the care they need."

While under the order, the RHRA says the licensees of the homes must report financial information and other details in order to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.

The regulator confirmed each of the homes is associated with the Martino family, which owned the Royal Crest Lifecare chain of nursing homes that went bankrupt in 2003.

The family is also connected to the Rosslyn Retirement Residence. The RHRA revoked its licence back in June after it was emptied amid an outbreak that infected 22 staff members and 64 residents, 16 of whom died. 

That revocation is being appealed.

CBC News has reached out to a lawyer representing the Martinos. That lawyer has previously said that the Martinos are in the process of selling multiple facilities.

The revocation orders outline that the operators of the homes must either cease to run the facility as a retirement home or sell it to someone else who will operate it as a retirement home before the date when they are no longer licensed.

A memorial on a pole across the street from the Rosslyn Retirement Residence is made up of 16 crosses, one for each of the residents of the home who had COVID-19 and died. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

If a licensee decides to shut down a facility, the order dictates they must provide residents with notice and the RHRA with a transition plan 120 days before it closes.

If a homes is sold, the licensees must supply the RHRA with the identity of the potential buyer and continue to own and control the site until the regulator ensures the possible new owner will be granted a licence.

The regulator says notices of intent to revoke the licenses were provided to the licencees on Nov. 3, 2020 to provide a mandated period where they could make submission to respond.

The licencees can appeal the order to the Licence Appeal Tribunal and apply for the revocation order to be stayed, according to the regulator.