The Ontario government announced a redesigned funding model that they hope will lead to the building of additional, modern long-term care homes providing for seniors. Over the next five years, the government is investing $1.75 billion in long-term care homes. It is also updating design standards to include air conditioning for any new and renovated homes, beginning immediately.
“That’s why our new funding model will not only encourage new beds to be built faster, but also upgrade existing older homes to meet high quality design standards, with features like air conditioning and private or semi-private rooms. Our seniors deserve nothing less,” said Premier Ford.
The new funding model will help speed up construction 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 (CFS) will be tailored to each of these four categories, enabling the government to address the barriers and needs of different communities;
- Providing development grants, between 10% and 17%, depending on regional category, to cover upfront costs like 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; and
Increasing funding to incentivize the construction of basic accommodation and continuing top-ups for small and medium sized homes.
By taking these steps, the government is trying to make it more attractive for operators to build long-term care homes and bring aging homes with 3-4-person ward rooms up to modern design standards. Currently, more than 38,000 people are on the waiting list to access a long-term care space, and new long-term care home construction has not kept pace.
Working with the long-term care sector, the government will dedicate funding to ensure long-term care homes in need have working air conditioning, a measure that should have been put in place many years ago. With thousands of new and redeveloped beds on the way, the government is also going to be changing long-term care regulations and design standards to ensure that all new long-term care builds and redevelopments are mandated to have air conditioning.
Between 2011 and 2018, there were 611 long-term care beds built across the province ― less than one bed per home. Long-term care projects dating back to 2018 will be eligible for the new funding model. The modernized funding model will address concerns about the structure and sufficiency of funding raised during formal stakeholder consultations held in January 2020.
The CFS is a per bed per day (per diem) funding amount provided to eligible long-term care homes once they complete a long-term care infrastructure project.
Nearly 78,000 Ontario residents currently live in 626 long-term care homes across the province.