Ontario investing over half a billion dollars to protect long-term care homes

Premier Doug Ford during today's press conference at Queen's Park Premier Doug Ford announces long-term care investment during today's press conference at Queen's Park.

The Ontario government is investing $540 million to protect long-term care homes and help them make necessary changes to improve support and safety.

“We’re sparing no expense. We’re putting up another half a billion dollars to fortify our long-term care homes against this virus,” said Premier Ford during today’s press conference at Queen’s Park. “We have a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable while ensuring they continue to have access to the best medical staff and their caregivers.”

The new investments include:

  • $405 million to help homes with infection and containment measures, staffing supports, and the purchase of PPE.
  • $61.4 million for renovations to improve infection prevention and control. These include plumbing or water cleaning, updating HVAC systems, repairing or replacing furniture and equipment that cannot be cleaned properly, etc.
  • $40 million to support the care homes impacted by the occupancy changed due to COVID-19.
  • $30 million to hire and train staff, with $20 million for additional staff and $10 million for the training of new and existing staff. This will allow for the hiring of over 150 new staff.
  • $2.8 million to extend the High Wage Transition Fund. This ensures that gaps in long-term care staffing will continue to be addressed.
  • Suppling homes with up to eight weeks of personal protection equipment (PPE). This will become available on Oct. 5 and the province will continue to deliver PPE within 24 hours of urgent requests.
  • Further investment to help people in long-term care waitlists stay in their homes longer.

“We saw the impacts of wave one in our long term care homes. We learned from it and we will continue, under the leadership of Premier Ford, to do whatever it takes to keep our loved ones in long-term care safe,” said Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario Minister for Long-Term Care.

Preparation for Second Wave

“The actions our government is taking to protect our loved ones along with the critical investments we are making to strengthen the long-term care sector will ensure our homes are prepared for the second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season,” added Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

The government also announced changes to the visitor policy for long-term care homes for areas of high risk. As of Monday, Oct. 5, visitors in these areas will be restricted to staff, essential visitors, and essential caregivers only. However, residents and substitute decision-makers are encouraged to identify up to two individuals as essential caregivers.

Premier Ford encouraged Ontarians to sign up as an essential caregiver. “It means more eyes and ears looking out for our residents. It’s easy to register, so I highly encourage folks to take advantage of this because we must do everything we can to support those who are isolated during these difficult days.”

Essential caregivers must follow public health measures, including having a negative COVID-19 test within two weeks of a visit, passing at-home screening, practicing frequent handwashing, and wearing a mask and additional PPE as directed.

“As we find ourselves in this new wave, our government must continue to make tough but necessary decisions to protect our seniors, ” said Ford. “For the sake of our long-term care residents for the sake of their families, we will be there for them, we will protect them, and we’ll get through this.”

Learn More:

Original release
Press conference video
Flu immunization campaign
Ontario offering COVID testing at pharmacies starting Friday
Ontario investing in healthcare
Niagara Public Health contact tracing info
Niagara Public Health COVID-19 page