Richmond Hill MPP says new bill will better protect LTC residents

Richmond Hill MPP Daisy Wai held a media conference on Nov. 12 to discuss how the government of Ontario is introducing new legislation to fix long-term care and to improve the well-being of residents in LTC and retirement homes.

Also in attendance was the minister of seniors and accessibility, Raymond Cho, as well as the MPP for Don Valley North, Vincent Ke.

If passed, the bill will repeal the current Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, create the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 and amend the Retirement Homes Act, 2010.

“After decades of neglect and underfunding, we are fixing long-term care and retirement care to ensure Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care they deserve. This is great news for residents of Richmond Hill and across Ontario,” said Wai, who is also parliamentary assistant to the minister of seniors and accessibility.

“I am looking forward to seeing an increase in transparency, promoting consumer choice and increased resident protection.”

The plan is built on three pillars: staffing and care; accountability, enforcement and transparency; and building modern, safe, comfortable homes for seniors. 

If passed, the proposed bill would support the government’s plan to fix long-term care by:

• establishing the commitment to provide an average of four hours of daily direct care per resident per day by March 31, 2025;

• strengthening the Residents’ Bill of Rights to align with the Ontario Human Rights Code and recognizing the role caregivers play in resident health and well-being;

• implementing new requirements for annual resident, family and caregiver surveys;

• establishing new compliance and enforcement tools, including doubling the fines on the conviction of an offence under the proposed legislation;

• introducing a minister’s review of a director’s decision in the licensing process.

COVID-19 has also been extremely difficult for people living in retirement homes, who have experienced isolation and loss of community and social connections due to the pandemic. 

To improve the well-being of retirement home residents, the government is proposing legislative changes to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 that would, if passed, increase transparency and promote consumer choice and resident protection so that residents are better informed and benefit from a more effective Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.

“There are almost 60,000 Ontarians residing in retirement homes across this province and we want to ensure they get the best care possible,” said Minister Cho. 

Currently, close to 70,000 Ontarians live in 626 long-term-care homes and more than 60,000 Ontarians live in over 770 licensed retirement homes across the province.

As of June, more than 38,000 people were on the wait-list to access a long-term-care bed in Ontario. The median wait time is 163 days for applicants to be placed in long-term care.

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