Despite promises made by Huronia Guest Home owners over the weekend to help place residents in new living arrangements, staff at the home say the owners still hadn’t reached out directly to residents or staff as of Monday afternoon.
As reported late last week by CollingwoodToday, conditions at the privately owned assisted-living facility in Stayner include a bed-bug infestation, a lack of food and staff allegations of non-payment since mid-December.
The facility is home to 27 residents and employs 10 staff to assist residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The property has been listed on MLS since June 2022 for $2.75 million. According to the description of the property, it is a licensed guest home with 45 beds, and includes a separate, two-storey duplex.
Linda Liang was identified over the weekend as one of the owners of Huronia Guest Home, and made a statement to other media outlets through her lawyer Nadine Schweishelm that Huronia Guest Home could no longer continue operations “due to financial constraints and inadequate funding.”
“It is scheduled to close as soon as residents can be placed in other living arrangements. The Huronia Guest House will be assisting the residents in these arrangements,” noted that statement.
Neither Liang nor Schweishelm have returned multiple requests for comment on the situation directly to CollingwoodToday.
However, according to staff at the home, as of Monday, Liang hadn’t made contact with any of the staff or the remaining 24 residents as to what those arrangements might be.
Candice Moncrieff, the cook at Huronia Guest House, says the first time she learned the home was slated to close was through weekend media reports.
“The residents haven’t received any notice,” said Moncrieff. “Nothing has happened.”
Moncrieff says a team of workers from local community agencies such as Simcoe County Paramedics, nurses and social workers did visit the home on Friday,
“They met with every resident who wanted to participate,” she said. “We have some residents here who don’t want to move. This is their home and they want to stay.”
However, Moncrieff says there has been a silver lining to the situation.
“The community has poured out donations. I can’t believe it,” she said. “They came together so fast and with so much love.”
“I had to turn away some,” said Moncrieff, noting there were some supporters who even offered their home phone numbers so she could contact them in the future regarding food needs.
“It’s been amazing. It makes my heart happy,” she said.
When contacted last week, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) said they are working with the facility and acknowledged the concerns are part of their purview, but did not provide details as to the nature of their current investigation.
"SMDHU conducts food safety inspections, annual licensing inspections in licensed facilities, and complaint investigations of public health concerns of assisted-living facilities," wrote media spokesperson for the SMDHU Heather Howe in an email to CollingwoodToday at that time.
According to the health unit’s website, the last inspection completed at the home by the agency was done in July 2022, was specifically focused on the serving kitchen, and noted one infraction of a failure to maintain hand-washing stations with adequate supplies.
In response to follow-up questions regarding oversight of Huronia Guest Home, Howe said the home is bound by the Residential Tenancies Act as it is privately owned.
“The health unit and other local and provincial organizations enforce aspects of their respective legislation in such privately run care facilities, as is the case with the Huronia Guest Home,” she said. “Due to confidentiality, details of received complaints are not disclosed.”