The provincial government has announced an “acceleration” of the development and modernization for long-term care facilities and a re-designed funding model for long-term care across Ontario.
Provincial officials say this will lead to the building of additional, modern long-term care homes providing seniors with the quality care they deserve.
Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott and the Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton say this new approach will “help break down historic barriers and accelerate the construction of urgently needed long-term care projects, and new and redeveloped beds.”
Premier Ford says the government is investing $1.75 billion in long-term care homes over the next five years. The province is also updating design standards to include air conditioning for any new and renovated homes, beginning immediately.
“After inheriting 15 years of under-investment in long-term care and a massive wait-list of seniors, our government is putting forward bold new solutions to turbo charge the development of long-term care beds across the province and ensure our most vulnerable citizens can live in modern surroundings,” said Premier Ford. “That’s why our new funding model will not only encourage new beds to be built faster, but also upgrade existing older homes to meet high quality design standards, with features like air conditioning and private or semi-private rooms. Our seniors deserve nothing less.”
The provincial government says the new funding model will help speed up construction by:
- Creating four new regional categories based on geographic location, each with a targeted home size: large urban, urban, mid-size, and rural. An increase to the province’s construction funding subsidy (CFS) will be tailored to each of these four categories, enabling the government to address the barriers and needs of different communities;
- Providing development grants, between 10 per cent and 17 per cent depending on regional category, to cover upfront costs like development charges, land and other construction expenses;
- Helping small operators in rural communities navigate the high cost of development, while ensuring larger urban centres can secure the loans and real estate they need; and
- Increasing funding to incentivize the construction of basic accommodation and continuing top-ups for small and medium sized homes.
Officials say these steps will make it more attractive for operators to build long-term care homes and bring aging homes with 3-4-person ward rooms up to modern design standards. According to the province there are currently more than 38,000 people on the wait-list to access a long-term care space, and new long-term care home construction has not kept pace.
They say the previous “one-size-fits-all” funding model has not spurred development nor accounted for how regional differences impact land, construction and other development costs.
With thousands of new and redeveloped beds on the way, the government is also going to be changing long-term care regulations and design standards to ensure that all new long-term care builds and redevelopments are mandated to have air conditioning.
“This newly designed model is a signature element of our government’s plan to address capacity in long-term care,” said Minister Fullerton. “This bold new plan will allow us to modernize a system that had been neglected for years, reduce the waiting list and ensure seniors live in a setting that is modern, clean and comfortable. In addition, this new investment will create jobs and contribute to our economic recovery.”