With the emergence of an unprecedented global pandemic crisis, the provincial government has taken urgent and desperately needed steps to keep Ontario’s seniors and those who care for them safe. 

The $3.3 billion in new funding for health care announced in the budget statement, titled Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, includes critically needed funds for long-term care homes and home and community care providers to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are so impressed and thankful for how quickly this government has mobilized to look after Ontarians, especially seniors and other vulnerable populations who need our support now more than ever,” said Lisa Levin, CEO of AdvantAge Ontario.

The COVID-19 funding announced today for the long-term care sector includes $243 million for surge capacity in homes, as well as funding for 24/7 screening, supplies and equipment, and more staffing to support infection control.

“This added support is vital to our members’ efforts to safeguard residents from exposure to this virus. The nature of our sector is that staff are continually in close contact with residents and providing hands-on, personal care, so it is vital that we keep everyone safe. Funding for active screening, personal protective equipment, and added staff to help with care are our top priorities, so these investments are going right where we need them,” added Levin.

The government has also committed approximately $80 million to enhancing the quality of care and overall resident experience in long-term care homes, along with $23 million for a minor capital program for upgrades and repairs.

“Our long-term care homes need this added funding to maintain care levels and ensure that the buildings that residents call home remain in good condition,” said Levin.

Also in today’s announcement is $120 million to increase home and community care capacity.

“The more we can bring care and services into people’s homes and keep them out of hospital, the better. This keeps seniors in familiar surroundings and frees up resources and space in hospitals to care for complex COVID-19 patients.”

“We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Long-Term Care, the Ministry of Health, and our sector partners to tackle this pandemic. We know that the dedicated staff in our member homes are working their hardest to safeguard residents during this incredibly difficult time,” added 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.