General manager of Ontario retirement home charged after door handles removed from rooms during pandemic
TORONTO -- The general manager of an Ontario retirement home is facing confinement charges after police say the door handles were removed from some residents’ rooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) announced the charges on Wednesday.
On February 12, DRPS investigators said they began an investigation in response to a complaint that came forward against staff members at White Cliffe Terrace Retirement Home in Courtice, which is located just east of Oshawa.
It was alleged that staff members had removed door handles to some units in the residence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Durham police have arrested and charged 40-year-old Tawab Karimi, the former general manager of White Cliffe Terrace, with two counts of unlawful confinement.
He has been released on an undertaking.
In March, the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA), who said they became aware of the situation by means of a whistleblower, published the findings of a Feb. 4 inspection of the residence.
The RHRA said the inspection found the home "failed to comply with certain sections of the Retirement Homes Act related to protection against abuse and neglect of residents, as well as confinement."
In April, CP24 and CTV News Toronto obtained a copy of a letter from Verve Senior Living, the company that runs the home, informing families that "a small" number of door handles were removed.
"It was a violation of our protocols and practices. As soon as we became aware of the incident, all resident's door handles were immediately reinstalled," David Bird, president and CEO of Verve Senior Living, wrote in the letter dated Feb. 10.
DRPS are asking anyone with new information to the East Division Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 1657.
A previous version of this article identified White Cliffe as a long-term-care home, rather than a retirement home.