Dr. Patricia Spindel
Seniors for Social Action Ontario
Dear Dr. Spindel:
Re: Request that the OHRC conduct an inquiry on the institutionalization of older adults in Ontario
Thank you for your email of May 6, 2021, reiterating the Seniors for Social Action Ontario’s (SSAO) request that the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) undertake a section 31 public interest inquiry into the institutionalization of older adults in Ontario.
As I said in my letter dated April 13, 2021, the information in your submission on the institutionalization of older adults and lack of effective community care options raises important human rights concerns about the adverse effects experienced by older persons, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notwithstanding its appreciation for your hard work, the OHRC will not be undertaking a section 31 public interest inquiry into this matter.
The decision to begin an inquiry under section 31 of the Code is based on several factors, as set out in the OHRC's Litigation and Inquiry Strategy. Ultimately, however, the OHRC is limited by the availability of resources. In addition to its ongoing policy and litigation work, the OHRC is currently engaged in two major public interest inquiries (the inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service, and the Right to Read inquiry). The OHRC simply does not have the resources required to start or pursue an additional inquiry.
The OHRC appreciates the detailed and comprehensive information you provided about the institutionalization of older adults, the serious adverse effects this has, and policy and structural changes that may lead to improvement. While the OHRC cannot provide you with legal advice, you may wish to consider the possibility of obtaining remedies (including public interest remedies) through an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
Thank you again for writing to the OHRC.
Ena Chadha, LL.B., LL.M.