Government of Canada Invests in Long-Term Care in Ontario
April 21, 2022
As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must address the existing challenges that were made worse for many Canadians, including those living in long-term care (LTC) homes.
Over the last two years, we have seen gaps in infection prevention and control, staffing, and infrastructure, with tragic effects on residents, their families, and those working in LTC homes. We know that these challenges remain and as a government, we must continue to do more to ensure all seniors get the quality care they deserve.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors, announced the signing of the Safe Long-Term Care Fund (SLTCF) agreement with Ontario. Through this agreement, Ontario is receiving more than $379 million from the $1 billion investment made in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement (FES).
Since its introduction in FES 2020, SLTCF has helped provinces and territories to improve infection prevention and control in LTC homes across the country. Ontario, with this investment, has built on existing projects in LTC homes by funding the following initiatives:
- Support for retention measures for existing staff;
- Support for an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and visitors;
- Support for strengthened infection prevention and control measures and training;
- Virtual care tools and services for LTC home residents and staff;
- Support for regular testing of staff and visitors; and,
- Support for vaccine administration, providing hotels and other accommodations to staff to reduce travel pressure and potential exposure to families.
The Government of Canada will continue to work collaboratively with the provinces and territories to drive positive healthcare outcomes for Canadians. Our government recently announced an investment of $2 billion to help our provincial and territorial partners significantly reduce the backlog of surgeries delayed because of COVID-19. This investment is part of a broader list of priority areas in health care, which are:
- Reduce backlogs and support our health care workers;
- Enhance access to family health services
- Improve mental health and substance use services;
- Help Canadians age with dignity, closer to home; and
- Use health data and digital health more effectively.
By focusing on these areas, we will help ensure that our health care system is better suited to keeping everyone healthy and safe, including seniors living in LTC homes.
“All Canadians should have access to the safe, quality health care they need and deserve, and furthermore, all seniors deserve to be treated with dignity and appropriate care, when and where they need it. Today’s agreement with Ontario will help address the challenges affecting long-term care homes that have been made worse by the pandemic. Our government will continue to be there for seniors in Ontario, and everywhere in Canada, by working with all provinces and territories to strengthen our health care system.”
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Canada’s Minister of Health
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed uncomfortable truths and gaps in how seniors are cared for in long-term care homes. One of the greatest tragedies of this pandemic is the lives lost in long-term care homes. During my time volunteering as a registered nurse at one of the hardest hit long-term care facilities in Ontario, I saw first-hand this heartbreaking reality. Our government is committed to making improvements to the quality of life of seniors and ensuring that Canadians working in long-term care are treated with respect. With this investment, long-term care facilities in Ontario will have the resources they need to improve their infrastructure and build on their initiatives to provide a safe environment for those living and working in these homes.”
The Honourable Kamal Khera
Canada’s Minister of Seniors
“Under the leadership of Premier Ford, Ontario is implementing its plan to fix Long-Term Care. Our plan includes over $13 billion to build over 58,000 new and upgraded beds, in new, state-of-the-art facilities across the province. This funding will also assist in the hiring of an additional 27,000 healthcare professionals, as we achieve our goal of 4 hours of care per resident per day. We look forward to working with the federal government as we continue to implement our plan to fix long-term care.”
~The Honourable Raymond Sung Joon Cho, Ontario Minister for Seniors and Accessibility
“We have been working closely with LTC facilities locally throughout the pandemic as they have been going above and beyond to provide support for our seniors, who have been disproportionately impacted. I am so pleased to see the Federal Government sign this agreement with Ontario, which will lead to improved patient care and outcomes.”
~Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph
- To ensure transparency for Canadians on the funding provided through the SLTCF, provinces and territories will develop and publish action plans that list their specific investments and performance metrics.
- In addition to the SLTCF, the Government of Canada has also invested to address the gaps in LTC identified during the pandemic:
- By investing $740 million in the Safe Restart Agreement, providing funding to provinces and territories to support vulnerable populations, including addressing the immediate needs in LTC.
- By providing up to $3 billion in federal funding to support provinces and territories to increase the wages of low-income essential workers, which could include front line workers in hospitals and LTC homes.
- By providing an additional $10.7 million to Healthcare Excellence Canada to support LTC homes across the country through the LTC+ initiative. More than 1,500 facilities are participating in the program.
- As well, Budget 2021 included a $3 billion investment over five years, starting in
2022-23, to support provinces and territories in their efforts to ensure standards for LTC are applied and permanent changes are made. This new funding will be available to help provinces and territories strengthen compliance and enforcement activities and support workforce stability, including through wage top-ups and improvements to workplace conditions (e.g., staff to patient ratios, hours of work).
- Budget 2022 reiterated a commitment from the federal government to work with PTs on priorities that result in better health outcomes and are focussed on the priorities of Canadians, including long-term, home and community care. Budget 2022 also proposed the creation of an expert panel which will report to the Minister of Seniors and the Minister of Health in order to study the idea of an Aging at Home Benefit.
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
Office of the Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera