Long term care home where nurse died facing charges

Photo of Kensington Village courtesy of Google Street View.

A long term care home in London where five residents and a nurse died during a COVID-19 outbreak is now facing charges.

According to the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA), charges have been laid by the Ministry of Labour against Kensington Village, a long term care home that saw a deadly COVID-19 outbreak in April of 2020. A spokesman for the Ministry of Labour confirmed in an email that Sharon Farms & Enterprises Limited, the owner of Kensington Village, is facing three charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The company is accused of failing to provide one or more written notices of occupational illness to a Director, failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker or workers to protect the health or safety of the worker or workers contrary to s. 25(2)(a) of the Act, and knowingly furnishing an inspector with false information, contrary to s. 62(3)(a) of the Act.

The outbreak claimed the lives of five residents and Brian Beattie, a 58-year-old nurse. He was the first nurse in Ontario to die of COVID-19 and one of eight employees at Kensington Village who tested positive for the virus.

The ONA claims Kensington Village did not do all it could to protect its employees.

“Kensington Village is a long-term care home that failed to maintain unexpired personal protective equipment and follow legislation requiring it to provide RNs with easy access to N95 respirators,” said ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “The home failed twice to provide timely notice to the Ministry of Labour, ONA and the Joint Health & Safety Committee that its staff had contracted COVID-19 at work, as required by the Act.”

The ONA added that ministry inspectors had been to the facility more than ten times between May and June of 2020 and issued orders related to hygiene, cleaning, social distancing, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It said Beattie had brought forward concerns about PPE being denied to employees, as well as the stockpile of N95 masks being expired and inaccessible.

“This tragedy was preventable,” said McKenna. “There were glaring violations at Kensington Village and ONA sincerely hopes that the mistakes this employer made are a lesson to other facilities to take occupational health and safety, and infection prevention and control seriously. These charges, we hope, mean that Brian’s death was not in vain. I hope the news that the home is being held to account will be of comfort to his family, and ONA is heartened that management of this home is now working cooperatively with ONA. The safety of residents and those who care for them is always paramount.”

Beattie had been a Registered Nurse for 23 years when he died.