Ontario 2021 budget fails to prioritize older Ontarians

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Seniors’ advocacy group mostly disappointed with measures announced in Ontario budget

TORONTO, March 24, 2021. CanAge, Canada’s national seniors’ advocacy organization acknowledges the investment that the Government of Ontario is making in caring for the province’s more than two million seniors, but claims that it doesn’t go far enough.

“This government has listened to our calls for dedicated, meaningful reform, particularly for those living in long-term care settings,” says Laura Tamblyn Watts, CanAge President and CEO. “But they haven’t really delivered. Today’s budget appears to be about a mix of old promises and the promise of new dollars over time. It doesn’t go far enough to transform long-term care, and has once again passed on making home care supports a reality for the majority of seniors who live in their homes.”

The question remains if these new funds will flow quickly enough to meet the needs of our rapidly aging province. 

Many of these measures are in response to CanAge’s policy platform, VOICES of Canada’s Seniors: A Roadmap to an Age-Inclusive Canada, released last year. Among the requests made in CanAge’s pre-budget submission, based on issues identified in VOICES, included:

CanAge Request Included in the Budget?
Increased funding to long-term care
homes to address infection outbreaks,
inadequate resident care, and needed
building upgrades.

$4.9 billion over 4 years to increase resident care to four hours per day.

$30 million annually to train LTC staff in infection prevention and control.

Building four new LTC homes faster through the innovative Accelerated Build Pilot Program.

Providing up to $246M over the next four years to prioritize upgrades, such as air conditioning.

Investing another $933M over the next four years to build more LTC beds, in addition to the initial investment of 1.75B, for a total of over $2.6B (These investment will result in a development pipeline of 20,161 new beds and 15,918 upgraded beds).

Mass-hire and train personal support
workers (PSWs) and other long-term care
staff, for good jobs with pensions and
benefits, similar to Quebec’s COVID-19
hiring model.

Investing $12 million in accelerated training of
9,000 PSWs.

$2 million over two years to attract PSWs and nurses to work in retirement homes.

Extending the wage enhancement for over 147,000 workers until June 30, 2021 who deliver personal support services.

Invest in programs to ensure
Franco-Ontarians and multicultural
seniors receive appropriate care and

$3 million over three years to Francophone Community Grant program.

Significantly invest in Home Care (Care at Home) as the primary provincial model of seniors’ care.

Providing $160M over three years to support the
Community Paramedicine for LTC program in 33

Deploy immediate COVID-19 vaccinations for seniors in long-term care (LTC), congregate care and community settings. Create drive-thru and door-to-door vaccination systems and
walkable community vaccination hubs.

Safe accessible transportation for persons with disabilities and older adults with limited mobility to get to their vaccination appointment. $3.7m to help remove barriers and provide safe, accessible transportation (but few details about how).

$50 million to vaccination programs in Indigenous communities.

Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC)
Hub program.

$50 million investment in 2021-22. IPAC provides guidance to prevent the transmission of infections in health care and other congregate settings between residents, staff and other contacts.

“This is progress, but more needs to be done,” says Tamblyn Watts. “We had hoped for funding for elder abuse prevention and response, and for a commitment to fully cover all vaccines for seniors as recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. None of that was addressed.”

CanAge is Canada’s national seniors advocacy organization that works to advance the rights and well-being of Canadians as we age. We work collaboratively with corporations, nonprofits, the media, and governments to amplify seniors’ issues, influence policy and effect change. To learn more, visit www.canage.ca.

For more information or to book an interview:
Lisa Hartford
Communications Director
lisa@canage.ca or call 647.466.8053


Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization

Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto

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