Ombudsman’s annual report looks at Parkside Extendicare response

The provincial ombudsman’s report  pointed out there still hasn’t an apology to families of those who died at Parkside Extendicare.
Mary McFadyen’s report, which was released at the Legislature Thursday, said the Saskatchewan Health Authority was able to implement one of their four recommendations and are working on the other three, but have received no response from Extendicare since their August, 2021 report.
McFadyen said they provide draft copies of reports to effected organizations.
“We want them to be implementable, we want the party to accept them, to implement them. Because that’s why we make them,” McFadyen said. “We have asked several times whether or not accepted or rejected the recommendations. They did not.”
A total of 194 of the 198 residents of the Parkside Extendicare care home contracted COVID in the worst outbreak of the pandemic. Thirty nine died.
McFadyen wasn’t concerned that the province announced they were taking over Extendicare’s locations across the province last year, pointing a finger at Extendicare’s national office.
“They were the ones responsible and carrying out the duties of the home in November, 2020 when the outbreak occurred,” McFadyen said. “In my view, it is their responsibility to provide an apology for that.
“I know that there’s a class action lawsuit that’s been announced. but under Saskatchewan law, an apology is not an admission of guilt in a civil lawsuit. So there’s no reason for them not to apologize to those families.”
Currently, the province is in the process of taking over the Extendicare locations across the province.
Extendicare was one of a few issues the report looked at. In ten years, there have been only 139 public sector employees contacting McFadyen’s office and only 10 disclosures internally at public sector workplaces.
McFadyen recommends looking into the Act in its current form, to see if it’s achieving its purpose because employees may not feel safe.
“My experience in my eight years is that they are not comfortable coming forward,” said McFadyen. “We’ve had 139 public sector employees contact us since the act came into  place in 2012. Considering there’s 60,000 public sector employees in Saskatchewan, that’s not that many (complaints).”
She said that a lot of provinces have similar counts of complaints.

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