OTTAWA -- The company that runs the Stirling Park Retirement Community in Ottawa confirms a manager at the home has been suspended as it investigates allegations the manager's wife received a COVID-19 vaccination ahead of a staff member.

An Ottawa Citizen report alleges that a housekeeper at the home near Merivale Road was told she would not be receiving a dose of the vaccine and that it would instead go to the manager's wife.

Residents of the Stirling Park home received their first round of vaccinations earlier this week.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, parent company Riverstone Retirement Communities says it is aware of the allegations and is investigating.

Stirling Park Retirement Community Statement

"Riverstone Retirement Communities has been made aware of concerns in regards to recent vaccination efforts at one of our communities. We take this matter seriously, and will be looking into the situation immediately. The manager in question has been suspended while we investigate the incident," the statement said.

"Riverstone supports the prioritization of residents, employees and essential caregivers in order to provide the safest possible environment for our residents. Our employees have had access to the local vaccination program since December 15th and will continue to encourage our team to get the vaccination when it is their turn."

CTV News Ottawa has reached out to the union that represents employees at the home for comment.

In a statement, NDP MPP for Ottawa Centre Joel Harden called for a full investigation into this alleged incident.

"The NDP is calling on the Ford government to launch a public investigation into vaccine queue-jumping, to get to the bottom of who may have improperly received a shot and where else this may have occurred," Harden wrote. "We also need a plan to scale-up the roll-out of vaccines that includes a provincial directive on who gets thawed doses when there are extras left over, to make sure shots are going into the arms of people who most need it first."

A similar incident was recently reported in Vaughan, Ont., where a number of vaccine doses intended for a long-term care home were given to non-frontline staff and relatives of board members in January.


Ottawa Public Health has launched a quality review with the director of care at Stirling Park Retirement after receiving a complaint about an ineligible person receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the retirement home. 

“It’s a serious allegation. Ottawa Public Health received a complaint about a person receiving a vaccine at the retirement home who wasn’t eligible for the vaccine,” said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health. “We’re following the provincial direction on who’s eligible in phase 1 and in particular, right now, that residents of retirement homes be prioritized.”

Dr. Etches told reporters that the director of care provides a list of residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The medical officer of health added the incident has been reported to Ontario’s Ministry of Health.

Mayor Jim Watson reacted to the incident during the city’s media availability after Wednesday’s council meeting.

“I think it is despicable and deplorable that someone would do that,” said Watson.

“We can’t vaccinate everyone overnight. We have to look at the list that’s been provided from these homes and prioritize our most vulnerable, our senior citizens.”

Watson adds he hopes the company will take some “pretty drastic action” to deal with the individual if the allegations are proven.