WINNIPEG -- A Manitoba woman, whose father died during the COVID-19 outbreak at the Maples Personal Care Home, is forming a volunteer task force to hold the government accountable.

“We cannot have 56 people die, have their voices and their memories just silenced, and not have anybody accountable for it,” said Eddie Calisto-Tavares during the scrums at the Manitoba Legislative Building on Wednesday.

Calisto-Tavares’ dad, Manuel, was one of 56 people who died during the outbreak at the care home, which saw 157 residents and 74 staff test positive for COVID-19.

Last month, an external reviewer released a 74-page report on the situation, and determined that more could have been done to prepare and respond to COVID-19. The report also provided 17 recommendations, including revised pandemic planning and more funding for long-term care.

Calisto-Tavares said she recently asked Health Minister Heather Stefanson who will hold the government accountable for implementing these 17 recommendations. She said the minister replied it will have to be people like Calisto-Tavares. 

“So I’m here today to tell you that I’m formalizing, on a volunteer basis, a task force that will hold this government accountable,” Calisto-Tavares said. 

“I want a public inquiry into the Maples (care home) because no one lost their jobs, no one got fired.”

She said through this task force she will hold the government, Maples care home, and Revera, the company that runs the facility, accountable. 

“(Stefanson) will regret the day that she put me in charge because I am not letting this go,” Calisto-Tavares said, referring to the fact that minister said it is people like Calisto-Tavares who will, unofficially, need to hold the province accountable. . 

“I am joining a whole bunch of other organizations, so you will hear so much more.”

Calisto-Tavares noted that the other people that will be joining the task force are those who lost loved ones at the Maples care home.

She said their goal will be to get the government to implement the 17 recommendations, as well as take other actions including creating an advocate for seniors and getting organizations, such as the Alzheimer’s Society, to be at the forefront of training frontline staff to care for those with dementia. 

- With files from CTV’s Josh Crabb.