March 24, 2021
Lisa Levin, CEO of AdvantAge Ontario, released the following statement on the Ontario government’s 2021 Provincial Budget.
The focus on “protecting people’s health” in today’s Provincial Budget is exactly what is needed at this time, and we praise the government for its leadership.
At the heart of this is the need to do better for Ontario’s seniors, especially the most vulnerable living in long-term care and other congregate care settings and who were the most tragically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We know that the highest priority is more care staff – both to ensure proper care for residents and to give our dedicated and incredibly hardworking frontline heroes much-needed relief and support.
We are very pleased to see that the government announced today a historic $4.9B over four years to fund its previous commitment to increase the average daily direct care to four hours per resident per day, which has been a longstanding advocacy priority for AdvantAge Ontario. This investment will create over 27,000 new positions for personal support workers, registered nurses, and registered practical nurses.
Today’s budget also reiterates a number of other recently announced measures to support and strengthen Ontario’s long-term care system that were welcomed by our members, including:
- $933M over four years to build 20,161 new and upgrade 15,918 beds to add much-needed capacity and address the waitlist of more than 38,000 seniors. Of these beds, 65% were awarded to non-profits and municipalities, which marks a change in the trend of previous governments to provide more allocations to for-profit operators.
- $650M in stabilization funding to continue to support homes with the extraordinary costs and financial impact of protecting residents and battling COVID-19.
- Extending the $3.00 per hour wage enhancement for personal support workers until the end of June.
- $246M over the next four years for building repairs and upgrades, including air conditioning.
- $30M annually to recruit, retain and train long-term care staff in infection prevention and control practices.
There was also good news for seniors living in their own homes with the announcement of $160M over three years to support the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program in 33 communities.
It has been an incredibly difficult year for our residents, families, and staff. We are very appreciative of this funding to get through the immediate pressures brought on by COVID, as well as major investments that will continue the process of rebuilding and transforming long-term care in Ontario for current and future seniors.
AdvantAge Ontario has been the trusted voice for senior care for over 100 years and is the only provincial association representing the full spectrum of the senior care continuum. Our more than 400 members are located across the province and include not-for-profit, charitable, and municipal long-term care homes, seniors’ housing, assisted living in supportive housing and community service agencies.
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