How You Can Help
TAKE POLITICAL ACTION:
There are a lot of ways to help. SSAO encourages active public participation according to your interests and the level of activity you feel you can engage in.
Stay informed. Ask to be placed on SSAO's Distribution List;
Lend your skills and expertise. If you are a policy analyst help write policy and research papers.
If you are a lawyer help provide legal advice and representation.
If you are a social activist lend your tactical expertise and help out with flyer delivery, pickets and demonstrations.
If you are a community organizer, help us bring together people from all over Ontario to take action.
If you are a government official who wants to blow the whistle on illegal or unethical practices e-mail SSAO - all e-mails are confidential.
If you want to help individuals and have advocacy, counselling, or a psychology or social work background - sign up to provide 1-1 assistance to residents and families currently facing substandard and abusive conditions in long term care facilities. Make site visits on behalf of SSAO once these facilities are fully open and the danger of pandemic has passed. Provide direct support to residents and families through phone calls and individual advocacy (SSAO will provide some guidance to individuals to become advocates on behalf of residents and families)
If you are a citizen concerned about conditions in long term care and for older adults in general sign up for SSAO's Action Alerts to take political action (write letter to the editor, write to public officials, distribute flyers in MPP's and Cabinet Minister's ridings, take part in pickets or demonstrations) by e-mailing us.
VOTE! We are not a partisan organization, but we will oppose any party or government that acts against the best interests of older adults. We will also support any political party that respectfully listens to and advances the positions of SSAO and older adults.
We do not ask for money from the public. SSAO is an entirely independent seniors' action organization with members all over Ontario who are seeking an end to institutionalization of older adults and to large corporations profiting from them and treating them like commodities and their facilities like real estate investments.
Your name and contact information will not be provided to anyone without your written permission.
Seeing what has happened in long term care institutions during the pandemic is causing many people to ask
"what can I do?"
If you have a relative in a long term care facility about whose care you are concerned, you can:
CONTACT THE INSPECTION BRANCH AND MINISTRY OF LONG TERM CARE
Write a complaint letter to the Director of the Long Term Care Inspection Branch and copy your local MPP - Stacey Colameco, Director, Long Term Care Inspection Branch,
11th Flr, 1075 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5S 2B1 416-212-6707 firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN - LONG TERM CARE RESPONSE TEAM
CONTACT THE PATIENT OMBUDSMAN
Contact the Patient Ombudsman - Cathy Fooks -Toronto: 416-597-0339 Toll free: 1-888-321-0339 Box 130, 77 Wellesley St. W. Toronto, ON M7A 1N3 online complaint form - https://www.patientombudsman.ca/Portals/0/documents/complaint-form-en.pdf
CALL, WRITE AND VISIT YOUR MPP'S OFFICE
Visit your MPP's office. They are usually in their Constituency Offices on Fridays - find out who your MPP is by typing in your postal code - https://www.elections.on.ca/en/voting-in-ontario/electoral-districts.html
CONTACT THE ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
If you believe that your loved one has been subjected to Human Rights violations in their care facility because of race, age, disability, sex, or sexual orientation you can file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission - Tel: (416) 597-4900
Toll Free: 1-866-625-5179 180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor Toronto (Ontario) M7A 0A1
RETAIN A LAWYER TO ENFORCE YOUR LOVED ONE'S RIGHTS
If you believe that someone's Constitutional Rights have been violated, contact the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms - https://www.jccf.ca/
Two legal advocacy centres also exist to assist people with disabilities and older adults - The ARCH Disability Law Centre - https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/ and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly - http://www.advocacycentreelderly.org
You can also retain your own lawyer or join class action lawsuits currently underway in Ontario.
Some firms that have filed class actions are:
Rochon Genova - Joel Rochon - ($600 million class action against Sienna and the City of Toronto for breach of fiduciary duty and violation of residents' Charter Rights) https://www.rochongenova.com/Lawyers/Joel-Rochon.shtml
Diamond and Diamond LLP - Darryl Singer - (against Sienna and Revera - $120 million lawsuit) https://diamondlaw.ca/
Neinstein LLP - Rose Leto (against Chartwell) - https://neinstein.com/
Rosen Sunshine LLP - (filed against Orchard Villa, Pickering and Sienna) https://rosensunshine.com/
For those considering being part of a class action lawsuit, here is another option for you:
Class Action Clinic at Windsor Law - https://classactionclinic.com/about/
IF YOU HAVE THE FUNDS AND WISH TO RETAIN A LAWYER TO FORCE THE GOVERNMENT TO ENFORCE ITS OWN LEGISLATION THROUGH A WRIT OF MANDAMUS, CONTACT LAWYERS FAMILIAR WITH ADMINISTRATIVE LAW.
What is the Prerogative Writ of Mandamus?
Mandamus is a royal prerogative writ involving a petition made to the sovereign, in Canada in the form of her Superior Court Justices, to force a lower court or government official to perform a public duty that is being refused. Because it forces future action, and doesn't retroactively undo decisions that have already been made, it's often used in combination with the writ of certiorari which will vacate an earlier decision prior to mandamus compelling a future action.
Why Seek Mandamus?
Mandamus forces a lower court or official to do something that is being refused.
These have often been used in immigration law but may be applied in long term care as well.
Individuals can also employ a lawyer to seek judicial review of government decisions.
"Judicial review is the process by which the courts oversee administrative decision-makers to ensure that their decisions are legal and are within their conferred powers. Essentially, the courts may review and grant relief regarding an administrative decision where the decision-maker exceeded its statutory mandate or breached the principles of procedural fairness." Procedural fairness can be said to be in question when there is procedural impropriety, illegality, unreasonableness and unconstitutionality. (Ontario Bar Association - Your First Judicial Review, May 7, 2013).
THIS SITE DOES NOT INTEND TO PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE - PLEASE CONSULT ANY MEMBER OF THE PRIVATE BAR CONCERNING THE POSSIBLE FILING OF A WRIT OF MANDAMUS.
Here's an example:
"Increasingly frustrated by the apparent reluctance of Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Government to enforce the Nursing Home Act and its required-staffing regulations, United Nurses of Alberta has taken the unusual step of going to court to force the province to enforce its own law. UNA asked the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench yesterday to issue a writ of mandamus in the case of a nursing home in the town of Athabasca.The writ would order the province to enforce the Nursing Home Act and its Regulations, which require the presence of a Registered Nurse in a facility legally defined as a nursing home ."