November 2, 2020, Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, and Minister of Long-Term Care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, announced that Ontario’s 2020 Budget will include a measure to increase the daily hours of direct care for long-term care residents.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford responded to questions from media regarding the province’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increase in Direct Care for Residents of Long-Term Care
This afternoon, Premier Ford, Minister Phillips, and Dr. Fullerton announced that Ontario’s 2020 Budget will include a measure that will increase the hours of direct care each long-term care resident to an average of four hours per day, up from 2.75 hours.
As a result of the commitment announced today, Ontario will be a leader among Canadian provinces in the provision of care for long-term care residents.
In addition to increasing average daily direct care, the 2020 Budget commitment to improving quality of care in the long-term care sector includes:
- Hard targets set over the next four years to achieve the standard of an average of four daily hours of direct care by 2024-25. Progress against these targets will be measured and reported regularly.
- Changes to educate and recruit the tens of thousands of new personal support workers, registered practical nurses, and registered nurses that will be required. This will build on the additional 3,700 frontline workers that were recruited as part of Ontario’s COVID-19 Fall Preparedness Plan.
The provincial budget will be released this Thursday, November 5, 2020.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
Regions in Modified Stage 2
When asked to provide additional details on whether the province would loosen restrictions for regions currently in modified Stage 2, Premier Ford said that he hopes there will be positive news in the coming days, although he will continue to act on the advice of health officials and will always err on the side of caution.
Flu Vaccine Availability
In response to questions about reports of pharmacy chains cancelling flu immunization appointments due to provincial supply issues, Premier Ford reiterated that Ontario ordered 5.1 million doses of flu vaccine this year, up 1 million doses from last flu season. He also spoke critically of pharmacies for overbooking flu vaccine appointments without first having the supply available.