Federal Government Extends Support for Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes in Ontario

Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga.

Canadian Red Cross to Continue Assisting Homes in Fighting COVID-19 Outbreaks

TORONTO —The Government of Canada is extending the support of the Canadian Red Cross in select long-term care and retirement homes in Ontario. This support was originally scheduled to conclude in March 2021, but will now continue until September 30, 2021.

“Our government has taken continuous and decisive action to support all long-term care homes throughout this global pandemic in order to keep the residents and staff safe,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “Supporting our efforts has been the Canadian Red Cross. They have been invaluable, as they offered our residents compassionate and thoughtful care. We are thankful that the federal government is extending the program.”

The Canadian Red Cross assists each home with their individual needs. In addition to supporting the improvement of infection prevention and control measures, they help with daily living activities such as the delivery of meals, housekeeping and light cleaning duties. Resident Support Aides also continue to socialize and engage with residents so that the home’s frontline workers can focus on providing direct quality clinical care to residents.

Conditions at long-term care homes across the province continue to be monitored and tracked daily. The Ontario government is working closely with the Canadian Red Cross to determine which long-term care and retirement homes would benefit most from their assistance. Decisions are being made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with all involved parties.

“Like all Canadians, seniors deserve to be safe, respected, and live in dignity,” said the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada is pleased to work with the Province of Ontario to continue supporting long-term care and retirement homes in the province. We are working hard to ensure the safety and well-being of Canadians across the country as we navigate through this difficult time.”

In addition to this extension, the federal funding will support Canadian Red Cross teams in providing support as needs are identified in long-term care and retirement homes across the province.

“Ontario is thankful for the federal government’s support to the Canadian Red Cross to provide help for vulnerable seniors living in retirement homes,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “This vital assistance is making a real difference as we face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We are very pleased to be able to extend our assistance into the coming months to support the residents and staff in long-term care and retirement homes,” said Tanya Elliott, V.P. Ontario, Canadian Red Cross. “We remain committed to working in close collaboration with the Government of Ontario and management and staff of long-term care and retirement residences as they work to stabilize and ensure the safety and well-being of their residents.”

Federal government assistance through the Canadian Red Cross works alongside other measures Ontario has taken on behalf of long-term care residents and staff, which includes investments of over $1.38 billion in COVID-19 emergency funding. Additionally, rapid antigen testing is in place for all staff, student placements, volunteers, essential caregivers, support workers and visitors. Ontario also prioritized and accelerated vaccination of First Nations elder care home residents, long-term care residents and high risk retirement home residents across the province. The province continues to, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, give direction and guidance on outbreak management and infection prevention and control.

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Red Cross has completed their deployment in 21 long-term care homes.
  • The Canadian Red Cross has completed their deployment in five retirement homes.
  • The province’s vaccine strategy is prioritizing the most vulnerable populations first, including health care workers and residents of long-term care homes and high risk retirement homes. High risk retirement homes include those co-located with long-term care homes and those offering memory care.
  • A Better Place to Live; A Better Place to Work: Ontario’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan aims to improve working conditions for existing staff, drive effective and accountable leadership, and implement retention strategies to make long-term care a better place for residents to live and a better place for staff to work.
  • Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available the necessary health resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.
  • In total, the government has made $15.2 billion available to support Ontario’s frontline health care heroes and protect people from COVID-19. This includes supporting 141 hospitals and health care facilities, and 626 long-term care homes since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • The government has also made $60.9 million available to protect seniors in licensed retirement homes to support increased infection prevention and control measures, including staffing, personal protective equipment costs and on-site testing.

SOURCE  Province of Ontario

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