QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP has discovered that for-profit long-term care operator Revera is quietly transferring each of the licenses for its long-term care homes in Ontario to separate holding companies, raising questions about whether the company is trying to limit liability and accountability during the pandemic.
The quiet change is possible thanks to the Doug Ford government who, in 2019, amended the Long-Term Care Homes Act to loosen requirements for public hearings on license transfers, and in recent weeks has signed off on seven of Revera’s license transfer requests, with 24 more in the queue.
“Thousands of seniors living in long-term care have gotten sick and died during the pandemic, and we know not enough was done to protect them,” said NDP Ethics and Accountability critic Taras Natyshak. “We can’t know for certain why Revera is restructuring its operations like this, but it raises serious questions about whether this might be an attempt to protect themselves from lawsuits by grieving, devastated families.
“What we do know is that for-profit long-term care corporations have done everything to protect themselves, instead of protecting the people in their care. Seniors and their families are paying the price for Liberal and Conservative decisions to let greedy companies privatize more and more of the sector.”
Natyshak is calling on the Ford government to halt the license transfers, and launch open hearings so families can get answers about why the corporation is restructuring like this.
The license transfers come as Revera faces multiple multi-million-dollar lawsuits arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thousands of families who have a loved one in long-term care are still going through hell, with more people in long-term care homes infected every day, and more people dying every day,” said Natyshak. “These families deserve protection, and if they’re failed they deserve answers, and they deserve justice. The NDP is calling on Doug Ford to halt Revera’s license transfers and hold public hearings so we can get to the bottom of why Revera is restructuring its operations like this.”
The New Democrats led by Andrea Horwath have released their plan to move to a fully public long-term care system without for-profit corporations, which includes 50,000 more beds, thousands more staff, and smaller homes that feel more like family homes. Horwath has also called for Ford to take urgent action to protect seniors in long-term care, instead of withholding funding and just waiting for a vaccine.
Halting all license transfers would also protect Korean-community long-term care home Rose of Sharon from being handed over to a for-profit corporation. Andrea Horwath and Toronto—St. Paul’s MPP Jill Andrew have been fighting to prevent the transfer.
- The for-profit long-term care chain Revera is currently seeking government approval to transfer licenses of their long-term care homes to a series of holding companies.
- Revera has applied for a license transfer for 24 of their homes, and has already successfully transferred licenses for seven more of their homes.
- The Ford government posted a notice for consultation on license transfers in 24 Revera owned long-term care homes in: Blenheim, Brantford, Newmarket, Kitchener, Newcastle, St. Catharines, Picton, Stratford, Scarborough, Grimsby, Toronto, Orillia, Lucknow, Uxbridge, Cambridge, Elmvale, Sarnia, Owen Sound, Paris, Oshawa, Kincardine, Ridgetown and Etobicoke. Comment closed on Dec. 13.
- The Ford government has posted notice that seven transfers have already been approved for Revera-owned homes in: Hamilton, Ottawa, Carleton Place, Etobicoke, Hanover, Cornwall and Port Dover.
- In all cases, the licenses for these homes are being transferred from Revera to what appears to be separate, individual holding companies.
- Each of these companies uses Revera’s Mississauga mailing address as their address: 5015 Spectrum Way, Mississauga.
- And each company has the same board of directors:
- Frank Cerrone (Senior VP Revera) Secretary
- Jim Hardy (CFO Revera) CFO
- Sylvia Von Ellm (VP Taxation Revera) Vice President
- Thomas Wellner (President Revera) President and CEO
- In 2019, the Ford government amended the Long-Term Care Homes Act to loosen the requirement for public hearings on license transfers. The Ford government’s change gives the minister the power to decide if, and what, public consultations for license transfers will happen. Previous to that change, all license transfers required a mandatory public consultation.
- Revera is facing multiple lawsuits. In April, Toronto-based law firm, Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, filed an application for a $50 million class-action lawsuit against Revera Inc. over the company’s response to the pandemic. In August, Thomson Rogers issued a class action proceeding claiming $25 million on behalf of residents of Carlingview Manor (owned by Revera) and their families.
- Revera owns or operates more than 500 properties in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Canada, Revera reports it has 186 Managed Communities, 225 Owned Communities and more than 22,500 Managed Units.
- According to a Global News investigative report released on June 16, 2020, more than half of the COVID-19 deaths up to that time in long-term care homes had occurred at facilities owned by six large-commercial chains. Revera was one of them, accounting for the second highest number of deaths in the industry.