SUDBURY -- Nickel Belt MPP Francé Gelinas is encouraging people to sign her latest petition to ban Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) charges in Retirement Residences across the province.

Gélinas told CTV News the problem was first brought to her attention in Sudbury, but now people from across the province are expressing the concern.

Residents at Sudbury’s Autumnwood Retirement Homes are being charged an additional 85 dollars a month for expenses including for "personal protective equipment."

A local senior’s advocate is speaking out and said residents are afraid to voice their concern.

"The residents are terrified to speak out," said Linda Hachez.

"I have a copy of the letter they received, it doesn’t say it’s temporary but it also doesn’t say it’s long lived. But I know from life experience once the charge is there, it’s very hard to reverse it after."

The extra 85 dollars a month is paying for modified dining, increased cleaning methods and personal protective equipment amongst other things.

"The PPE is not for them, it’s for the staff. They are all in a position where they have no source of any other or any new income, that’s all they’re going to get. They have to watch every penny," added Hachez.

CTV News reached out to Autumnwood Mature Lifestyle Communities for comment and received a statement that says:

"We are not charging our residents a fee for PPE. We have issued a service increase to our residents. The need to issue increases is evaluated every year. The lump sump funding received from the Ministry was taken into account. In 2020 Autumnwood saw an increases in a number of areas that affect the services we offer. The increase was required in order to further offset these rising costs."

According to MPP France Gelinas many retirement residences in the province have accessed government money throughout the pandemic, arguing those that receive funding for PPE should pass the savings along to its residents.

"The Government has put many savings in place for them. There’s money available to purchase PPE," she said.

"None of those savings were past on to the residents. But a lot of them feel like they see this opportunity to make more money on the back of frail elderly people. It’s not sitting well with the people who have reached out to me."

"First it was people from just Sudbury, now it’s all over Ontario."

Gélinas is encouraging people to sign the petition on her website, calling on the province to intervene.