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Quebec ombudswoman Marie Rinfret speaks during a news conference at the legislature, in Quebec City, on Sept. 24, 2020.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Quebec’s ombudswoman says nothing was done to resolve well-known problems in the long-term care network before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Marie Rinfret’s annual report released today notes that while responding perfectly to an unprecedented event such as COVID-19 would’ve been impossible, the Health Department had been forewarned about the major problems.

She says understaffing, employee burnout, lack of qualified workers, and dilapidated premises were all known to successive provincial governments.

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Rinfret notes the situation faced in elder-care homes was repeatedly condemned in previous years, but says solutions that could have improved conditions in those facilities were often postponed.

She says there’s little new to say about the problems in Quebec’s long-term care network – now is the time for action.

Rinfret’s report on the Health Department’s response to the crisis is due next fall, and a progress report is expected in the coming months.

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