MONTREAL -- A patients’ rights advocate has filed a police complaint against the Quebec government.

Paul Brunet, from the Council for the Protection of Patients, alleges the treatment seniors received living in long-term care homes was criminal neglect.

In testimony at the coroner’s inquiry into CHSLDs in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brunet said thousands of lives could have been saved, but instead, seniors were ignored, neglected and sacrificed.

Brunet's police complaint is directed to Quebec public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda and the former health minister Danielle McCann, saying they had an obligation to act, but they underestimated the risk.

In the complaint, Brunet said they failed to warn people about the elevated danger for those living in seniors’ homes.

He said after the World Health Organization issued a state of emergency at the end of January, the elderly were at risk, but the provincial government was slow to get protective medical gear and didn't regularly test seniors.

“Mr. Arruda said on the 22nd of January 2020 that Quebec is ready for the pandemic. It was not true. We were running around like chickens to buy masks and other personal protection items. We were not ready at all,” he said.

It also didn't allow caregivers into homes, which he claims was a serious error.

Brunet said this kind of recklessness contributed directly to thousands of deaths.


The complaint was filed with the Surete du Quebec in September of this year and Brunet testified Thursday morning, saying he wouldn't speak publically about it unless he was testifying under oath, which is why the complaint has just come to light now.