July 30th, 2020

Liberals' Northwood review raises secrecy concerns

HALIFAX -- The Liberals’ approach to reviewing the Northwood COVID-19 outbreak is raising concerns about secrecy. The review process is being conducted under the Quality Improvement Information Protection Act, which includes possible fines and prison times for public disclosure of testimony.

“Getting to the truth of what happened at Northwood is in the public interest,” said NDP leader Gary Burrill. “Proceeding in a way that could impose consequences on people for sharing information gets us no closer to that truth. The families who lost loved ones, and all those nursing home residents who have endured isolation, deserve a thorough examination of long-term care in light of the pandemic, which is why we maintain our call for a public inquiry.”

NSGEU President Jason MacLean announced today he will not participate in the review process because of the requirement to keep information secret.

“It’s imperative that we prepare our province’s nursing homes for a second wave of COVID-19 and other possible virus outbreaks,” said NDP Health spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “The Liberal government has yet to lay out a plan to ensure adequate staffing and single-occupancy rooms for residents.”

The NDP has repeatedly called on the Liberal government to launch a public inquiry into the Northwood outbreak, and to make the investments needed in Nova Scotia’s long-term care facilities.