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NDP calls for public inquiry into Ontario’s response to COVID-19

‘People deserve closure, and a roadmap for future governments to ensure it never, ever happens again’
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Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath speaks at a press conference at Laurentian University Oct. 13, 2021.

It’s time for Ontario to commit to an independent public inquiry into the province’s response to COVID-19, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

“Nearly 620,000 Ontarians have gotten sick, and over 10,000 have lost their lives to COVID,” Horwath said in a news release. “Some had to say goodbye to their loved ones on a screen, and thousands of people died completely alone. Our hospitals neared the brink of collapse as thousands of patients were flown far from home to available beds. The lonely, painful end of life for thousands in Ontario is deeply tragic, and we have to do everything we can to make sure it never, ever happens again.”

Horwath said the purpose of an inquiry is to learn what went wrong, and what went right, to be ready for the next public health emergency.

“We have to be ready for anything else that’s coming our way,” said Horwath. “We need to know what went wrong in Ontario’s battle with COVID. People deserve closure, and a roadmap for future governments to ensure it never, ever happens again.

“We also need to know what went right. There are lessons to be learned from the incredible success stories created through the hard work of front-line health-care workers, local public health authorities, hospitals, teachers and education workers, municipal councils and non-profits.”

A public inquiry can be struck by cabinet, Horwath said. The legislature can pass a bill to compel cabinet to do that.