MONTREAL -- Given the heart-breaking living conditions in which elderly people recently found themselves in during the COVID-19 health crisis, the Human Rights Commission reiterates that CHSLDs and other seniors' residences should be obliged to report deaths that have occurred on their premises to the coroner.

The recommendation is one that the commission had already made multiple times: once in 2010, then in 2011 and again very recently, in January 2020.

The commission hopes that the recently revealed situations in CHSLDs lead to concrete changes in the supervision and monitoring of certain practices of accommodation resources, whether public or private.

A police investigation has just been launched concerning the situation at the CHSLD Maison Herron, in Dorval Que., where no less than 31 deaths have been recorded out of a total of 150 residents since March 13.

Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday that other CHSLDs are under high surveillance now.

The obligation to report the deaths to the coroner would contribute to this surveillance effort.

Some organizations are already obliged to do this - such as prisons and psychiatric institutions - but the commission would like it to be extended to CHSLDs, intermediate accommodation resources and residences for the elderly, given the “particular context of vulnerability and loss of autonomy” of these people living in residence.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2020.