July 15, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Long-Term Care, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, announced a redesigned funding model for Ontario’s long-term care (LTC) sector and an investment of $1.75 billion over the next five years. This funding will accelerate the construction of LTC projects, new bed development and the redevelopment of existing beds.
In addition to the new funding model, the Ontario government is also updating design standards to mandate air conditioning in any new and renovated homes, effective immediately. Also effective immediately, the government is relaxing restrictions on visits to loved ones in LTC.
Premier Ford and Dr. Fullerton were joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott.
Redesigned Funding Model and Accelerated Construction in LTC Sector
This afternoon, Premier Ford and Dr. Fullerton announced a redesigned funding model for Ontario’s LTC sector with the intent of building 30,000 LTC beds over the next ten years. The government will also be investing $1.75 billion into the LTC sector over the next five years, which is expected to lead to the development of 8,000 new LTC beds and 12,000 redeveloped beds.
The new funding model will accelerate construction of LTC projects 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 will be tailored to each of these four categories, enabling the government to address the barriers and needs of different communities;
- Providing development grants to cover upfront costs, including 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;
- Increasing funding to incentivize the construction of basic accommodation and continuing top-ups for small and medium-sized homes.
Design standards for new and renovated homes are also being modernized to include features such as air conditioning, private or semi-private rooms, and the latest medical technology.
Premier Ford added that work has begun on regulations to mandate air conditioning in existing LTC homes. The government is also working with the sector to dedicate funding to ensure that LTC homes in need have working air conditioning.
Relaxed COVID-19 Restrictions on LTC Visits
In addition to this afternoon’s announcement, Dr. Fullerton announced that, effective immediately, up to two people at a time can attend an outdoor visit with a loved one in LTC. For outdoor visits, attestation of a negative COVID-19 test result within the previous two weeks will no longer be required.
Beginning Wednesday, July 22, indoor visits in LTC will also be permitted to resume, with up to two guests per resident. Indoor visits will only be permitted to take place at LTC homes with no active COVID-19 cases. To attend an indoor visit, visitors will need to attest that they have had a negative COVID-19 test result within the previous two weeks.