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See who's been chosen to participate in Wettlaufer inquiry

The Commissioner of the upcoming inquiry into the actions of serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer has decided who will be allowed to participate in public hearings that begin in June in St. Thomas.

Standing granted to family members of victims, the Ontario government and organizations that provide care

Justice Eileen Gillese is head of the public inquiry looking into the circumstances and systemic problems that allowed serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer to murder eight seniors in her care. (Ontario government)

The Commissioner of the upcoming inquiry into the actions of serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer has decided who will be allowed to participate in public hearings that begin in June in St. Thomas.

Wettflaufer is currently serving eight concurrent life terms for giving eight seniors in her care lethal doses of insulin while she was working as a nurse on the night shift at long-term care homes in Woodstock and London, Ont.

The commission received 50 applications to participate in the public hearings. The Commissioner, Justice Eileen Gillese, has announced that individuals allowed to take part will include one victim, a number of family members, and two close friends of the victim.

They have been organized into three groups:

  • Beverly Bertram, who survived a murder attempt by Wettlaufer, as well as Jon Matheson and Pat Houde, 
  • Arpad Horvath Jr., Laura Jackson, Don Martin, Andrea Silcox, and Adam Silcox-Vanwyk
  • Shannon Lee Emmerton, Jeffrey Millard, Judy Millard, Sandra Lee Millard, Stanley Henry Millard, and Susie Horvath

Gillese said each of the applicants has a substantial and direct interest in the inquiry. "Each has suffered – and indeed continues to suffer – as a direct result of the offences."

Organizations given standing

The Commissioner has also granted standing to:

  • The Ontario government, including the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.
  • Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes Ltd, which owns and operates the home in Woodstock where many of the offences were committed.
  • Jarlette Health Services and Meadow Park (London) Inc., which own and operate the Meadow Park nursing home, where the eighth murder was committed in 2014.
  • Rivera Long Term Care Inc. It operates Telfer Place Long-Term Care Residence, in which an attempted murder took place in 2015.
  • The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), which is responsible for regulating nurses in Ontario.  
  • Nine other organizations involved in Ontario's long-term care homes system

Financial Assistance

Gillese also announced that three groups of individuals and three organizations have been recommended to receive funding to seek legal counsel.

She's recommending to the Attorney General of Ontario that each group of individuals be provided with a lawyer at a maximum cost of $80,000, plus HST.

The recommending funding for organizations includes:

  • Up to $80,000 for the Ontario Association of Residents' Councils (OARC)
  • Up to $50,000 for the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO)
  • Up to $20,000 for the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario  (RPNAO)

Seventeen applicants have been refused the right to participate in the inquiry. Gillese ruled they do not have a "sufficiently substantial and direct interest" in the matter. However, she said, she is satisfied the concerns of these applicants will be raised by various organizations.

Although they can't participate in the hearings, Gillese said each of the 17 applicants can make written submissions.

The inquiry will hold public hearings beginning in June. Gillese is to submit her final report by July, 2019.

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