Toronto, ON (January 19, 2022) – Today, AdvantAge Ontario Board Chair Connie Lacy and CEO Lisa Levin put forward critical funding priorities for the next provincial budget to strengthen and improve seniors’ care in Ontario.
“We were starting to feel some relief and ability to look beyond the immediate when the Omicron variant surfaced. While we are incredibly thankful that vaccines are keeping long-term care residents much safer, this latest surge has hit our sector hard, particularly our workforce and set us back even further,” says Lacy.
AdvantAge Ontario members commend the government for its commitment to major initiatives that will change the lives of thousands of seniors for the better, including an average of four hours of daily care for each long-term care resident, building 30,000 new long-term care beds, and the new Not-for-Profit Loan Guarantee Program. But more must be done.
“We must keep going to rebuild and recover from the pandemic so that we can lay the foundation for generational change that will provide a fulsome continuum of care for seniors and make Ontario truly the best place to grow old,” adds Levin.
The Association’s pre-budget submission, Fulfilling the Pledge: Transforming Seniors’ Care, focuses on four themes and 31 recommendations designed to fulfill the government’s pledge and transform seniors’ care in the province.
The most urgent recommendations are as follows:
> Better Care for Seniors: The province should create a special fund for homes to transition to emotion-focused models of care, which are the gold standard in seniors’ care.
> More Hands-On Care: To attract and retain skilled staff, a raise for long-term care workers that puts their wages in line with hospital wages is essential.
> Building and Transforming for Tomorrow’s Seniors: To meet the demand for not-for-profit long-term care, the province should create a new Not-for-Profit Long-Term Care Acceleration Program that includes non-repayable seed funding for new homes, a broadening of redevelopment criteria, an increase in the development grant, and an inflationary increase to the Construction Funding Subsidy. The province should also invest $57 million into the expansion of Assisted Living in Seniors’ Supportive Housing programs across the province, enabling an additional 2,500 seniors to age in place at home.
> Pandemic-Proofing Seniors’ Care: To ensure homes can fulfill the infection prevention and control (IPAC) requirements set out in the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021, the province should extend COVID-19 prevention and containment funding into 2023 and invest in the capacity for every home to have a dedicated, permanent IPAC resource assigned.
“Now is the time to truly make a difference for seniors in this province, and the dedicated frontline and management staff who work so hard each and every day to keep residents safe and healthy,” says Lacy.
The full submission and summary are available on the AdvantAge Ontario website.
AdvantAge Ontario has been the trusted voice for not-for-profit senior care for 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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