03 July 2020 – Withdrawal of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) from long-term care homes

Type of Intervention: Specific Action
Sectors Involved: Health, Military
Intervention Categories: Social and physical distancing measures; Special populations
Level of Jurisdiction: Ontario
Lead People/Agency: Premier Doug Ford; Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care; Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health; Brigadier General Conrad Mialkowski, Commander Joint Task Force Central

Overview: The Ontario government has announced the withdrawal of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) teams from Ontario long-term care homes, as they conclude their work on July 3rd. The CAF teams were called in to temporarily support a number of high-priority long-term care homes during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in Ontario, under Operation LASER. These teams were made up of nurses, medical technicians, and other personnel that provided staffing support and assisted with infection prevention and control procedures, amongst other duties. This action intended to support both staff and residents of long-term care homes to manage several issues that were discovered upon CAF entry into some facilities.
Full details here: https://news.ontario.ca/mltc/en/2020/07/canadian-armed-forces-depart-ontario-long-term-care-homes.html

Other links: 1 2
Type of Justification: Advice of INTERNAL government advisory committee or group, Advice of EXTERNAL expert advisor or advisory committee
Source of Evidence or Justification: National – other, Sub-national, Chief Medical Officer of Health and guidance documents
Evidence/Justification: The withdrawal of CAF teams from a number of Ontario’s long-term care homes comes from the conclusion of Operation LASER, which was initiated by the findings of a CAF report indicating issues with IPAC, standards of practice and quality of care, supply, communication, and staffing issues that were discovered initially when CAF teams entered the homes. Operation LASER was part of Ontario’s direct response to this report. As such, the withdrawal of CAF teams maintains that operations in the implicated homes have returned to an acceptable standard, while additional measures are also being taken to support staff and residents in long-term care settings. This was also guided by Ontario’s Action Plan for Long-Term Care Homes, a government plan developed under the guidance of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health experts.