This week, Long-Term Care Minister introduced the Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021. This long-awaited legislation focuses on enhancing transparency, accountability and enforcement, and incorporates recommendations made in Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission Report from earlier this year. Key highlights of the Bill include:
Staffing and Increased Hours of Direct Care
This legislation implements the province’s commitment of increasing the average hours of direct care per resident to four hours by March 31, 2025, and increases care provided by allied health care professionals to an average of 36 minutes per resident by March 31, 2023. Additionally, it implements interim annual targets which would require the Minister of Long-Term Care to:
Informed by the recommendations made in Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission Report, the legislation places greater focus on palliative care by ensuring every licensee of a long-term care home integrate a palliative care philosophy into their care and services.
Also, the legislation enhances rules around Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) in homes by requiring licensees to designate an infection prevention and control lead whose primary responsibility is the home’s infection prevention and control program and that they possess the qualifications to be in this position, as set out in the regulations.
Enhancing Transparency, Accountability and Enforcement
The new legislation aims to strengthen measures to hold long-term care home licensees accountable while ensuring residents are safe and cared for. These measures include:
- The Resident’s Bill of Rights to be updated to make it easier to understand and address recommendations of third-party reviews
- Require long-term care homes to introduce a new quality improvement initiative
- Require all homes to implement a standardized resident and family/caregiver experience survey
- Enable the creation of a Long-Term Care Quality Centre
On enhancing enforcement measures, the legislation aims to:
- Eliminating the Voluntary Plan of Correction (VPC)
- Provide more powers and authority to Directors and inspectors to issue an Administrative Monetary Penalty where the licensee has not complied with a requirement under the Act
- Expand grounds under which a temporary manager is brought in to assist with the operations of a home on a temporary basis and clarify if the manager is to take on full operations or a specific issue
- Give the Director and Minister the authority to suspend a license and take over along-term care home without having to revoke the license and close the home
- Double the fines on the conviction of an offence for individuals to be:
- Double the fines for corporations to be:
Modernizing Retirement Homes
The amendments proposed in the legislation to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010, will ensure residents in retirement homes receive the care and protection they need and deserve. This includes:
- Modernizing oversight of the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority to have enhanced management and compliance tools to be a more agile and effective regulator in extraordinary circumstances
- Improve quality of care by protecting seniors in unlicensed homes by having new compliance authorities during the license application period
- Enhance consumer protection and transparency by providing easier access to pricing information on retirement home rents and services earlier in the decision-making process
If passed, this Bill would repeal the current Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, to create the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021, and will make important amendments to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010.
Barring any unforeseen events or amendments, this legislation is positioned to pass on or before the legislature rises on December 9, 2021.