Province commits to increasing capacity for long-term care

Ontario Premier Doug Ford addresses the media on long-term care, as Minister of Long-Term Care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton and Minister of Health Christine Elliott look on, May 26, 2020. Image provided by Premier of Ontario/YouTube

The Ontario government is committing $1.75 billion to increase the number of long-term care beds and upgrade existing ones across the province.

The funding, which was announced Wednesday afternoon, is expected to create around 8,000 more beds and enhance an additional 12,000 beds over the next five years. According to the provincial government, there are currently 38,000 people on the waitlist for long-term care homes across the province.

“We’re redeveloping homes to modern design standards so our seniors have access to features like private and semi-private rooms and the latest medical technology,” said Premier Doug Ford.

The government is also committing to working with long-term care providers to make sure all homes have working air conditioning.

“This newly designed model is a signature element of our government’s plan to address capacity in long-term care,” said Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee 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.”

However, NDP leader Andrea Horwath expressed disappointment with the Ford government’s funding announcement.

“I was hoping today’s announcement would mean better care. If we want to improve conditions, we should be committing to hiring enough staff to deliver four hours of hands-on care per resident per day, raising PSW wages and offering them full-time jobs, and getting the profits out of long-term care. Instead, we see no new money and a renewed commitment to shovel cash into the private sector, where they can cut corners and pocket the difference,” said Horwath.