Investigation into elder care in Ottawa finds no non-compliance issues: Minister

Pairijiit Tigummiaqtikkut sent a letter of complaint detailing concerns about elders at Embassy West Senior Living in Ottawa; Main says investigation is complete

Health Minister John Main stated that an investigation into Embassy West Senior Living found no issues of non-compliance by the facility in connection to a letter of concern about elder care sent by elders society Pairijiit Tigummiaqtikkut. (File photo by Dustin Patar)

By Nunatsiaq News

An investigation into Embassy West Senior Living in Ottawa found no issues of non-compliance over concerns listed in an open letter about the facility’s elder care, according to Nunavut Health Minister John Main.

The investigation was in response to an open letter of complaint from the elders society Pairijiit Tigummiaqtikkut over the treatment of elders at Embassy West, including concerns over what it considered cultural and language barriers. The society wrote to Main in early March while the legislative assembly was in its winter sitting.

Pairijiit Tigummiaqtikkut also alleged Inuktitut interpreters weren’t around enough, health assessments didn’t include proper interpretation, no available Inuktitut radio or news about home, and deliveries of country food not reaching elders.

Another concern was over families not being properly consulted about the status of their family member at Embassy West.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Main said the investigation was carried out by Ontario’s Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, or RHRA, responsible for regulating and ensuring proper care of seniors in retirement homes.

A bilingual Nunavut government staff member assisted with the investigation by doing a walk-through and consulting elders at Embassy West about any concerns they had, Main said.

The RHRA reviewed plans of care for residents as well as the communications provided to them, said spokesperson Phil Norris.

He said RHRA is solely responsible for the Retirement Homes Act, the policy regulating safety standards for retirement homes in Ontario.

Selma Basic, director of operations at Embassy West on Carling Avenue in Ottawa, said the centre does its best to ensure the health and safety of its residents and that culture and traditions of Nunavummiut are respected.

Main said the government is working to make long-term care in Nunavut a possibility, referring to the planned Rankin Inlet Long-term Care Centre.

Currently, elders requiring long-term care must go to southern Canada for options.

Anne Crawford, a lawyer in Iqaluit who is advocating for elder care in partnership with Pairijiit Tigummiaqtikkut, said institutional care is not the proper type of care for elders.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Ontario’s Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority is responsible for regulating and ensuring proper care of seniors in retirement homes. 

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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by See No Evil on

    Having spent time in a couple of other Long Term Care facilities, let me asure you that, even with the best of intentions, there are always non-compliance issues.

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  2. Posted by 867 on

    I am glad this investigation was done. It confirms what many of us see far too often in Nunavut: vilified accusations made public without any solid evidence.

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  3. Posted by Sigh….. on

    ….this is such a sad excuse for a response.

    The Elders’ Society didn’t complain that Embassy West failed to meet the Ontario standards. They wrote about very clear concerns about language, food, naming, activities and access that are specific to Inuit.

    Why do we have a government and a Minister of Health here in Nunavut if all they do is tell us about Ontario’s one page, one line inspections?

    People in Nunavut know what is going on. John Main knows. This is not the respect we owe to our elders.

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    • Posted by All in on

      Be reasonable here.
      There are people doing a bad job of their job everywhere in the world and in health centres and even elders centres in Nunavut too. People who work there that don’t learn Elders proper names or choose to call them something else because they are ignorant and maybe even racist, staff that steal country food thats brought in specifically for Elders – these things happen in our communities!!! Not sure what we expect the Minister of Health to do?! How many elders staying at Embassy West participated in the letter writing campaign? And what should the dept of Health do about it? Move the elders from embassy west to…where? Another place with racist uncaring staff??!! How many Inuit nurses do we have in NU that will work in long term care centres in NU? The govt is working on long term care in territory. If ms crawford paid attention to last legislature she’d know what Main thinks of institutional care. Let’s be reasonable and calm our bits.

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  4. Posted by Ty2si on

    Interpreter for hire. $100,000

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  5. Posted by Danielle adjun on

    I still regret not visiting my grandpa with my last bit of funds that were meant for school. I would give anything to spend more time with my grandpa, Colin Adjun. I’ll head back to school to create housing for Nunavut if thats what has to be done to create facilities, its so hard to see your grandparents sent so far without any means to visit when you wish to.

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  6. Posted by Oh No! on

    Is this service is offered to Nunavummiut for free? Free flights south? Free accommodation? Is the Department of Health not collecting the patient’s CPP/OAS as I think they do inevery other Province/Territory?

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    • Posted by 867 on

      Of course its free! Imagine the outcry from Nunavummiut if one day the GN decided we needed to pay for Elder Care like the rest of Canadians!?

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    • Posted by What Is The Case Here? on

      Yes, generally you have to sell all of you assets and consume all of your personal means before the government will foot the bill for LTC in other jurisdiction.

      I always just assumed that that is our case in Nunavut, but now I wonder.

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    • Posted by Seen It on

      In Nunavut you have to pay for Elder Care, unless you don’t have any assets, or have managed to hide them, so your family can inherit them.

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  7. Posted by Panik on

    This is what the Embassy West does, cleans up their act when they know somebody is coming. I have been there a couple times, I know for a fact the Interpreters only come around for tea time to serve tea and bannock and doesn’t stay to converse with the patients whatsoever. They are not there during the day, only break time. His room lacks necessities like towels, kleenex and hand soap. His room is usually filthy on the walls and furniture.

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    • Posted by 867 on

      Sounds a lot like some GN staff. Some who decide to only show up for tea and bannock and then lord knows where they are for the rest of the day. I guess this problem exists down south in Ottawa to

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    • Posted by What is the Expectation? on

      Necessities? Can we say that for sure?

      I don’t know how it works at Embassy West, but in the facility that my mother was in Kleenex and hand soap, etc, were not ‘necessities’ but were considered to be personal toiletries and were the responsibility of the resident.

      I’m not familiar with the Ontario regulations on this detail. What is the Embassy West expectation of the residents?

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    • Posted by Visitor on

      I agree.
      how did the inquiry actually get that information? I know many there and they weren’t interviewed. we were not asked to and could have said where the gaps or ‘wrong’ is so there are improvements.
      one idea I heard is buy a building in the south until it is no longer needed after the ones are built in Nunavut and sell the building so no huge loss of funds.

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      • Posted by Jimmy on

        I was there hearing the workers say Anaana, Ataata. I told them to stop and told families to say something about anything that is not right. If the investigation found this was not happening, the investigation did not happen.

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  8. Posted by hermann kliest on

    it was investigated by an Ontario Firm, get this through your thick heads; you have to be an Inuk to understand Inuit culture and their very needs. just because you can almost speak the language fluently does not make you understand the race, even if you spent almost 50 years up here, that’s just a start of understanding this race or any other race around the globe…

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    • Posted by Logical on

      I hear this all the time. If non Inuit cannot ever truly understand Inuit, then how can Inuit truly understand non Inuit to such an extent that they can say non Inuit cannot truly ever understand Inuit?
      .
      This “lived experienced” logic can be true to some degree, but is very very flawed.

      • Posted by hermann kliest on

        This is way there will always misunderstanding between us…period. I could never understand non-Inuit why they are always so right so superior and why they always treat us in negative manner. And I in return always asked my friends why so many non-Inuit are so stupid in their manners….again there are many wannabes at either side.

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  9. Posted by A thought on

    By that same token, you are also telling us that Inuit will never understand the other cultures in Canada for at least 50 years.

    Then when will we institute cultural sensitivity training for our students and medical patients before they head south?

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  10. Posted by elder in training on

    I am an elder in training and I wouldnt want to be sent away far far far far away from my family….I want to be taken care of from my family in Nunavut…lets work hard to get elder care facilities in Nunavut before we are all sent to Ottawa. : (

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  11. Posted by ON ELDERS’ SIDE on

    Who began the elders’ center? Probly golddiggers, Inuit or southerners? Very many big gaps! I just wish Ningeocheaks’ fundraisers were compensated from federal funds! Of course, staff will cover up the bad parts of the business and they talk about stuff we wish were true!! We need medically trained Inuit and who wants to fund this? Keep knocking on the federal fund doors!!!, feds hide it!!!

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  12. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    I have a friend who works in these elder centres. The Government warns the home first before they come and do the inspections ( No spot surprise inspections) so everything is in order and staff are on their best behavior when inspectors show up. Do not believe those inspection reports folks !

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