Provincial Budget: Once-in-a-Generation Investment for Seniors

Toronto, Ontario (March 28, 2018) – Much awaited details on funding to support the government’s commitments in its Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors were unveiled in today’s provincial budget.

“We couldn’t be more pleased. This is a once-in-a-generation investment that targets a tremendous need and obligation for our society – better and more integrated care and services across the continuum so that every senior can live life to the fullest,” says Lisa Levin, CEO of AdvantAge Ontario. “With our aging population, demographics are demanding attention and we applaud the government for responding.”

With today’s budget, base funding for long term care homes will go up 3.5% - the largest increase in many years. Key elements are directly in line with recommendations that AdvantAge Ontario has long been calling for to improve care for seniors.

Most notably, the Association, which represents not-for-profit providers of seniors’ care, is delighted to see $300 million in new funding over the next three years to start phasing in the promised increase in direct care for seniors living in long term care homes.

“Moving to a provincial average of four hours of care has been a long-standing advocacy priority for the Association ever since the target was identified in the government-commissioned Sharkey Report on long term care in 2008,” says Levin. “Seniors are staying in their own homes for as long as they can. If they reach the stage of needing long term care, they are coming into our homes with increasingly complex care needs and behaviours so this additional support is welcomed and urgently needed,” adds Levin.

The government also reconfirmed its plan to roll out 5,000 new long term care beds over the next four years and 30,000 over the next decade with a specific focus on new beds to serve cultural needs. Long waitlists and access issues have been major challenges for seniors with more intensive care needs seeking long term care placement. The addition of beds will help alleviate wait times and was one of AdvantAge Ontario’s key asks in its budget submission to government earlier this year, Making Good on Promises.

“We are thrilled that a number of our members were included in the list of new bed awards announced today,” says Levin. “In Ontario’s long term care sector, not-for-profits have a long history of delivering high quality, innovative and resident-focused care and services. These strengths are reflected in consumer preference with two of every three seniors on the province’s waitlist selecting not-for-profit homes as their first choice. We will be pressing government to ensure future bed allocations reflect this preference.”

AdvantAge Ontario applauds other measures in the budget aimed at residents in long term care including:

   > 6% increase in the annual food budget
   > A further $10 million investment in the Behavioural Supports Ontario program to improve dementia care including training for all staff
   > 2% increase in resident care and program funding
   > $5 million for high intensity needs fund
   > $8 million for equipment to prevent falls and injuries
   > 2% increase for convalescent care

The Association also welcomed new investments that will benefit seniors living in the community including:

   > $650 million in additional funding for home and community care over the next three years to increase nursing and therapy visits
   > Seniors’ Healthy Home Program to help seniors with the cost of maintaining their homes
   > 200 new rent subsidies for seniors to access affordable housing
   > $547 million over five years for repairs and retrofits to social housing
   > Ontario Drug and Dental Program to reimburse for eligible prescription drug and dental expenses

“The commitments announced today hold great potential for Ontario’s seniors. We look forward to working closely with the government on the funding and implementation details,” say Levin.

AdvantAge Ontario is the trusted voice for senior care. We are community-based, not-for-profit organizations dedicated to supporting the best possible aging experience.

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Media contact:

Debbie Humphreys
Senior Director, Corporate and Public Affairs