Ontario to pour $673 million into long term care homes in 2022, Whitby MPP announces

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Published March 16, 2022 at 11:37 am

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The Ontario Government is pouring up to $673 million into the Province’s long term care (LTC) homes in effort to increase staffing to meet government goals of four hours of direct care to each resident by 2025.

Per an announcement from Whitby MPP Lorne Coe more than $4.7 million of that funding will directed to four LTC in across the town he represents.

This includes;

  • $593,052 to Lakeridge Health, the Region’s hospital provider

  • $1,046,556 to The Village of Taunton Mills, a private for profit home operated by Schlegel Villages with 388 suites

  • $1,395,420 to Glen Hill Terrace, a private not-for-profit home with 160 beds newly opened last summer, and

  • $1,726,836 to Fairview Lodge, a Regionally-owned home with 198 beds

“This funding will allow homes in our community to hire and retain more staff so they can provide more care to residents, every day,” said Coe. “This is part of our Government’s plan to hire thousands of new staff over the next four years to ensure those living in long-term care get the high-quality care they need and deserve.”

The Government release stresses, “people entering long term care today are older and have more complex medical needs than they did just a decade ago. The level of care residents need has increased dramatically, but the amount of care they receive each day has not.”

Ontario aims to increase direct care to LTC residents by an hour and 21 minutes every day over four years. They claim the previous government increased care by 22 minutes between 2009 and 2018.

Over the next four years, if re-elected, the Ford Government plans to infuse $4.9 billion into Ontario’s LTC in the hopes of hiring 27,000 new staff.

In pursuit of this goal, the Province is increasing funding the LTC by;

  • $270 million in 2021-22
  • $673 million in 2022-23
  • $1.25 billion in 2023-24, and
  • $1.82 billion in 2024-25

“We know that more qualified staff means more daily care for residents,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Long-Term Care, “Hiring more staff is part of our Government’s plan to fix long-term care and to improve the quality-of-care residents receive and the quality of life they experience.”

Calandra, who pulls double-duty as Government House Leader, is new to the role of LTC Minister following Ajax MPP Rod Phillips’ second resignation from cabinet.

Under Phillips and Calandra, Ontario now has 24,000 new beds and 19,000 upgraded beds in some stage of development. With a goal of creating or upgrading 30,000 beds, this put the province within 80 per cent of its goal either in planning, construction or opening.

The Province is fast-tracking new developments under an accelerated build program, which allowed the new Lakeridge Health LTC in Ajax to be constructed in 13 months, opposed to the several years such homes often take.

This embrace of LTC by the Ford Government comes after years of harsh criticism of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in LTC homes across the Province.

Over the course of the pandemic more than 4,300 LTC residents died of COVID-19, representing 35 per cent of Ontario’s total 12,272 deaths by March 14. Roughly 75,000 people reside in LTC, .5 per of Ontario’s 14.9 million population.

The situation got so bad in the 2020, the military was brought in to help run five LTC homes in the province, including Pickering’s Orchard Villa. The armed forces later released a scathing report on conditions in the homes, reporting deaths from negligence, cockroach infestations and unsanitary conditions.

After Phillips took over the LTC portfolio from previous minister Merrilee Fullerton (now running the Ministry of Social Services), Ontario introduced the Fixing Long Term Care Act, aimed at increasing funding for LTC and improving services.

The act came under heavy fire from the Opposition and patient advocacy groups for increasing funding for privately run homes, some of which were cited for deplorable conditions in the military report, like Orchard Villa.

Part of the new act includes new funding to train additional nurses and personal support workers (PSW) to address the gaps in care. In of 2021-22 Ontario invested $200 million to train up to 16,500 PSW through college and in 2022-23 will invest $35 million into colleges to open up 2,000 spots for nursing students.

This move comes Ontario tables a bill to make the pandemic wage from $16.50/h to $18.50/h increase for PSW permanent. Wage increases for nurses remained capped at 1 per cent per year by the Ford Government’s Bill 124 introduced in 2019.

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