BCCPA Statement on L’Isle-Verte Tragedy
On behalf of our members, the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) expresses its deepest condolences to the residents, families and staff of the Résidence du Havre seniors home. We also express our thanks to the first responders who have been working tirelessly. The magnitude of the tragedy and loss of life in the small town of L’Isle-Verte is deeply saddening.
The necessity for automatic sprinkler systems in long-term care and assisted living residences should be uncontroversial. However, across Canada, there is a patchwork of sprinkler regulations.
With the increasing acuity of seniors in care homes over the last decade, retrofitting buildings to include sprinklers or replacing older buildings with modern structures should be a top priority for the sector, provincial ministries of health, and regional health authorities.
Over the last decade, thanks to key investments made by the Province of British Columbia, BCCPA members have made great strides in modernizing the care home stock in the province. Newer long-term care homes are constructed of fire resistant materials, have automated sprinklers and regularly conduct fire drills.
In addition to new construction, many of our members have also retrofitted their older buildings. In some cases, this has been made possible by capital grants from the Health Authorities.
In light of the Quebec tragedy:
- The BCCPA has already begun reaching out to the Ministry of Health, the Health Authorities and municipal fire departments and other key stakeholders to hold an urgent meeting within the next four to six weeks to develop a province-wide plan to:
- Immediately catalogue all older buildings in need of automated sprinkler installation and commit to making this information available to the public.
- Closely monitor the investigations into the L’Isle Verte tragedy to determine if there are any recommendations we can adopt in British Columbia.
- The BCCPA requested an urgent meeting to be held on Friday, January 24, 2014 with the Canadian Alliance for Long Term Care (CALTC).
- At the annual meeting of CALTC in August 2014, which the BCCPA is hosting, we will request that the issue of fire safety in care homes become a focus of our discussion.
- The BCCPA will attempt to further accelerate the process of transforming CALTC into a formal national industry association representing all the provinces that can interface with government on issues of national concern when it comes to the long-term care sector.
We are committed to working with our members, the Ministry of Health, the Health Authorities and local governments and other key stakeholders to ensure all care homes in British Columbia remain safe and secure for both residents and staff.
CEO, BC Care Providers Association