Toronto

Premier Doug Ford commits to mandating air conditioning in long-term care homes

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his government will change existing legislation governing long-term care homes to mandate air conditioning for residents after CBC News asked about families concerned about their loved ones in sweltering facilities.

Government will 'move forward rapidly' on changing legislation, premier vows

Premier Doug Ford says his government will move 'rapidly' to require Ontario long-term care homes to have air conditioning. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his government is committed to changing existing legislation to mandate air conditioning in long-term care homes — a day after CBC News asked him about families who were concerned about their loved ones living in sweltering conditions

"We're going to move forward rapidly," he said. "It's just unacceptable." 

CBC News first asked the question at the province's regular COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday. At that time, Ford said he would consider changes.

The legislation that governs long-term care homes sets a minimum temperature of 22 C. There is no maximum. And for facilities that aren't air conditioned, the Long-Term Care Homes Act stipulates they must provide at least "one separate designated cooling area for every 40 residents."

Ford said Wednesday he has looked at the legislation and promised the government will be "bringing this forward immediately," and said the province's minister of long-term care "is acting immediately." 

He also said the province is looking into allocating some funding. 

WATCH: Premier Doug Ford gives a shout-out CBC reporter Lisa Xing for asking about mandating air conditioning in long-term care homes

Premier Ford gives a shout-out to CBC's Lisa Xing

CBC News Toronto

1 year ago
1:21
Premier Doug Ford says he will make air conditioning mandatory in long-term care homes after CBC's Lisa Xing first asked about the topic on Tuesday. 1:21

On Tuesday, Ford lambasted long-term care home owners, saying he'd speak with them directly about rectifying the situation. 

The Greens, New Democrats and Liberals said they would support any legislative changes and urged the premier to take action.

But in question period at Queen's Park Wednesday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath accused Ford of feigning ignorance about the problem. 

"The premier has been told that this is the case by families who have been pleading with this government to take action, and he heard it directly here in the legislature over two years ago from MPPs who were doing their jobs, telling the premier what was happening in long-term care," she said. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Xing is a journalist by trade and a historian by degree. She's also a creative writer, photographer and traveller. Email her at Lisa.Xing@cbc.ca.

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