Hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces members are heading home. CP photo

Troops deployed to Toronto-area long-term care homes to start heading home

Around 500 military members and their associated equipment were gathered

OTTAWA — Ontario drivers are being told to stay on the lookout for military vehicles on the roads this week as hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to long-term care facilities in the Greater Toronto Area begin to pack up and head home.

Around 500 military members and their associated equipment were gathered at Canadian Forces Base Borden north of Toronto in early April to support the federal government’s response to COVID-19 as the pandemic spread across the country.

Many of those troops ended up being deployed to seven long-term care homes in the GTA hit hard by COVID-19, where they found cases of abuse and negligence as well as bug infestations, bleeding infections and residents being left crying for help for hours.

Their observations were compiled into a damning report released last month that has sparked several lawsuits as well as calls for an overhaul of how Ontario’s long-term care homes are managed.

While some troops will remain in their assigned long-term care homes until Friday, the Armed Forces say hundreds of others who have completed their mission will hit the roads and return home on Monday and Thursday.

“Drivers and pedestrians are asked to remain patient and show their support to the troops as they conduct this road move,” the military said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear whether similar moves would be made in Quebec this week, where the military has deployed more than 1,000 troops to help in 47 long-term care facilities since April. Like in Ontario, their mission is set to end on Friday.

The Armed Forces were first put on high alert because of COVID-19 in late March as military commanders prepared to respond to requests for assistance from federal and provincial authorities in relation to the pandemic as well as floods and wildfires.

While those natural disasters have not materialized in any significant way, the military did end up mobilizing Ranger units in several northern communities before deploying into the long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec.

The deployment involved most of the Armed Forces’ medical personnel. Quebec Premier Francois Legault had indicated he wanted to the military to stay in the homes until September, but military officials subsequently warned that was not sustainable.

The military did indicate that the returning troops will remain ready to respond to future requests for assistance.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

robbery
UPDATE: Suspect identified in early morning shooting

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s Municipal Affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Province and rural municipalities agree on a plan to support Alberta’s energy industry

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

The influenza vaccine will be available at no cost starting Monday in Alberta. “The more that we can avoid influenza-related tests, emergency visits and hospitalizations, the stronger our system will be to support those with COVID-19 and all other health needs," says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Hinshaw urges Albertans to get flu shot as COVID cases jump by 332

Alberta’s central zone now has 132 active COVID-19 cases

The Bellows family on vacation last year in Mexico. L-R: Angel, Ryan, Darrel, Grace and Michael. (Photo submitted)
Rimbey community rallying behind family after cancer diagnosis

Michael Bellows, 12, a ‘strong, resilient kid’ says father

Across the province, there are 2,738 active cases of COVID-19, with 18,417 recovered cases. There have been 288 deaths from the virus in Alberta since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Alberta reports 244 additional COVID-19 cases Thursday

2,738 active cases of COVID-19 in the province

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Executive Director of Agape Kate Halas (left) receives $1000 from Sgt. Eric Christensen (right) on behalf of Agape. Photo/ Shaela Dansereau.
Former Wetaskiwin Peace Officer wins provincial award; gives back to Wetaskiwin community

Eric Christensen has won the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers Award of Excellence.

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Big boost for Alberta college agriculture research

The $2-million agreement to benefit Lethbridge College’s applied research team

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Canadian couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

(The Canadian Perss)
Banff wolves have lower survival rate due to hunting, trapping outside park boundary

Researchers looked at 72 radio-collared wolves in the national park from 1987 to August 2019

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Miramar Regional Park in Miramar, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is still hopeful about the Keystone pipeline if there’s a change in government in the U.S. next month, saying Alberta has been engaging with American officials from both sides of the aisle. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Carolyn Kaster
Alberta premier says he’s still hopeful about Keystone, even if Biden elected

The Alberta government has agreed to invest about US$1.1 billion as equity in the project

Most Read