Ottawa retirement home manager suspended after wife allegedly skips COVID-19 vaccine queue

The manager of Ottawa’s Stirling Park Retirement Community has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations that his wife received a coronavirus vaccine ahead of front-line care workers at the home.

Several members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) filed complaints with the local union chapter, stating that a manager at Stirling Park brought his wife into the home to receive a vaccine dose instead of a frontline worker, a spokesperson with the union confirmed to Global News on Wednesday.

Charlene Nero, legal director with LiUNA, added in an email that the union has filed a grievance with the home and had plans to meet with management at the facility on Wednesday.

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Riverstone Retirement Communities, the operator behind Stirling Park, confirmed in a statement that it has been “made aware” of the concerns and that the manager in question has been suspended while the allegations are investigated.

“Riverstone supports the prioritization of residents, employees and essential caregivers in order to provide the safest possible environment for our residents,” the company said in a statement.

This news was first reported in the Ottawa Citizen.

Joseph Mancinelli, LiUNA’s international vice-president and manager for central and eastern Canada, said in a release Wednesday that he is “sickened and saddened” by what he called a “blatant abuse of power” at Stirling Park.

He chastised the accused manager for putting families and frontline workers at further risk by allegedly bringing his spouse into the facility.

“This act of negligence not only jeopardized the safety of all residents and workers in this home, but by jumping the queue, directly put the health and safety of our member at risk,” he said in a statement.

Mancinelli called for more oversight of the vaccine rollout in long-term care and retirement facilities to address queue-jumping concerns.

The City of Ottawa said it expects to complete the first round of vaccinations in the city’s highest-risk retirement residences by the end of the day on Wednesday.

— With files from Global News’s Samantha Berdini

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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