March 1, 2023 | Mississauga, Ontario | Health Canada
Every senior in Canada deserves to live in dignity, safety and comfort, regardless of where they live, and the Government of Canada is committed to doing more to support seniors across the country.
On February 7, 2023, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $198.6 billion over 10 years to improve health care services for Canadians. With this investment, we are focusing on key health priorities, including better family health services, more sustainable health workforce, shorter wait times, improved mental health services, modernizing the health care system, improving access to patient’s health information, and helping Canadians age safely and with dignity.
Helping Canadians age with dignity, closer to home, with access to home care or safe long-term care (LTC) remains a priority. We are delivering real results through the announced investment of $1.7 billion over 5 years to support hourly wage increases for personal support workers and related professions, as well as through the joint investment with provinces and territories of $6 billion over 5 years for home and community care.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors, reiterated the Government’s commitment to help ensure quality, safe and respectful care for seniors in LTC homes across Canada. This follows the January 31, 2023 release of two independent LTC standards from CSA Group and the Health Standards Organization (HSO), which provide guidance for delivering services that are safe, reliable and – most importantly – centred on residents’ needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the problems in LTC and highlighted long-standing, and systemic challenges in infection prevention and control, staffing, infrastructure, and quality of care in LTC across Canada. The Government of Canada knows that strengthening compliance and enforcement activities in LTC facilities, as well as supporting workforce stability through wage top ups and improvements to workplace conditions, is essential to improved care for patients. This can also create a more positive and healthier environment for all who live or work in LTC.
That is why the Government of Canada provided close to $850,000 in funding to the HSO and CSA Group to support enhanced engagement in the development of these standards. Over 20,000 long-term care home residents, members of the workforce, leaders, and other Canadians participated in the consultations on these standards to reflect what Canadians expect from LTC. We thank the HSO and CSA group for their dedicated work and expertise.
These standards complement the Government’s ongoing work with provinces and territories to help support improvements in LTC. Budget 2021 provided $3 billion over five years to support provinces and territories in their efforts to improve LTC in their jurisdictions. This is in addition to the $1 billion provided through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement for the creation of the Safe LTC Fund, to protect people living and working in LTC.
While a majority of Canadians want to age closer to home and family, they also expect LTC – if it is needed – to be high quality and safe. In the coming months, the Government of Canada will move forward with consultations and engagement with stakeholders and Canadians on the Safe LTC Act.
“All seniors deserve to live in dignity with access to home care or safe and quality care in a long-term care facility. As a government, we will continue to our work with provinces and territories to help all Canadians, including seniors, get the care they deserve when and wherever they need it. We will also always ensure that those who live or work in LTC homes do so in a positive, safe, and quality environment.”
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
“Our government is committed to meeting the needs of seniors, from aging within their own home and community, to access high-quality care in LTC homes across the country. As Minister of Seniors, I remain firmly committed to continue working with my provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure that Canadians living and working in LTC homes are safe and treated with respect.”
The Honourable Kamal Khera
Minister of Seniors
- Together, CSA Group and HSO standards provide guidance for delivering services that are safe, reliable and most importantly centred on residents’ needs. They aim to foster a healthy and competent workforce, create safer physical environments, and promote a culture of quality improvement and learning across LTC homes.
- Since 2017, provinces and territories have implemented new initiatives to improve access, better coordinate and integrate home care and palliative care, and support caregivers to help more Canadians receive the care and services they need, where they want them. This is part of a Government of Canada investment of $11 billion over 10 years under the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities, which outlines common priorities for home and community care, and mental health and addictions services, and informed the development of bilateral agreements.
- As announced in July 2020, the Safe Restart Agreement provided provincial and territorial governments with over $19 billion to help them restart the economy, while making Canada more resilient to future surges in cases of COVID-19. This included $740 million in funding to support our most vulnerable populations through infection prevention and control measures to protect those in LTC and those receiving home care and palliative care.
- In addition to the $1 billion through the Safe LTC Fund, the Government of Canada committed $38.5 million for the Long-Term and Home Care pilot project in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement. The pilot tested a new recruitment and training model for up to 2,600 supportive care assistants and developing a career advancement pathway for up to 1,300 of these graduates to upgrade their microcredential to a full Personal Support Worker certificate. As part of pilot project, a National Occupational Standard (NOS) for Personal Care Providers was developed by Colleges and Institutes Canada. The NOS is meant to serve as a reference point to create workplace standards, performance expectations, and as the basis for developing training curriculum.
- Since 2020, the Government of Canada has provided $10.7 million to Healthcare Excellence Canada, which has enabled more than 1,500 LTC facilities across Canada to implement best practices for preventing and addressing COVID-19 infection. Their next phase of work will be Reimagining LTC: Enabling a Healthy Workforce to Provide Person-Centred Care. Participating teams will be supported to address gaps in the safety and quality of care received in LTC.