Oakview Place abuse investigation: Two health-care aides facing assault charges

Two health-care aides are facing assault charges following an investigation into abuse allegations at Extendicare Oakview Place in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg police confirmed two health-care aides were arrested Monday and released on undertakings with conditions. A 49-year-old woman is facing three assault charges, and a 36-year-old woman is facing two assault charges.

In a release Tuesday, Winnipeg police alleged between August 2021 and January 2022 the two health-care aides used, ‘inappropriate physical actions on separate occasions to gain the compliance of five elderly residents while performing their daily care duties.’

The arrests come nearly two months after the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) confirmed the investigation into abuse allegations.

The WRHA previously said a whistleblower came forward to local Extendicare management in February, with allegations that two health-care aides were mistreating residents. However, the WRHA said it was only informed about the allegations four months later when another whistleblower came forward.

A spokesperson for Extendicare, a private company which owns and operates long-term care facilities in Winnipeg, told CTV News it was advised Monday evening of the charges against two health-care aides.

“We have shared this update with our community of residents, families and staff. We cooperated with the police throughout their investigation and thank them for their work,” the spokesperson said in an email. 

The news came as a shock to Dianna Klassen, whose late father David Middleton was among the victims allegedly abused by the two health-care aides.

“It’s very upsetting,” she said.

The WRHA had initially said the allegations affected 15 residents at the home. However, on Tuesday police said the charges were in connection to assaults against only five residents.

While police would not speak specifically, WPS public information officer Const. Dani McKinnon said it is not uncommon for there to be potentially more victims at the beginning of an investigation.

“Is it later whittled down and determined that there may be less people actually involved, or less people wishing to go through the investigative process, participating in statements and the laying of charges,” she said.

Klassen said she wants to know what happened to the other victims.

“Do the other 10 victims not qualify for justice?” she said. “We’ve been kept in the dark once again. It’s extremely disturbing to not know what’s going on with somebody that you loved.”

Police have not released the names of the health-care aides as the charges have yet to be formally laid against them.

In a statement, the WRHA confirmed the two staff members remain on leave. The two health-care aides had remained at work until they were placed on leave in June after the second whistleblower came forward.

“The alleged actions of these two staff are not a reflection of the values or the safe, compassionate and quality care the vast majority of personal care home workers provide every day,” the statement reads.

The WRHA would not comment further on the matter as the health-care aides are now facing charges.

Klassen said she was not contacted by police and only found out about the charges through the media.

“I’m upset… not one single person has contacted us to make us aware that charges were being laid. If it weren’t for the people in the media, I would not have known that that had happened.”

McKinnon told CTV News while notifications are part of the investigation process, she couldn’t comment on behalf of the investigators.

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