About long-term care in Ontario: Facts and figures

In the past five years, the long-term care sector has undergone profound change. Before then, long-term care homes accommodated a mix of residents with low to very high care needs. Since 2010 however, only people with high or very high care needs are eligible for long-term care in Ontario. These changes are largely due to the province’s aging-in-place strategy, which has made more funding available for care at home while implementing new, stricter admission criteria for those entering long-term care. The result: Ontario seniors are entering long-term care homes when they are older, frailer, and in need of more medical and personal care than ever before.

Our seniors need long-term care homes that are ready and capable of meeting their ever-increasing, complex health care needs and able to provide safe quality care when they expect and require it most. Visit us at betterseniorscare.ca to learn more about how the government and homes can work together to build the capacity for care. And below, you can find some quick facts about residents, long-term care homes, costs and eligibility. 

Scroll down to learn more about long-term care residents and homes, or jump to a section below:
Ontario's long-term care residents (2015-2016)
Ontario's long-term care homes (December 2015)
Long-term care home provincial and LHIN dashboards (October 2016)
Moving to long-term care
Residents pay a portion of long-term care

You can also read our latest sector report, This is Long-Term Care 2016 or download this "OLTCA & LTC 101" presentation for a more thorough overview of long-term care and the Association. 

Ontario's long-term care residents (2015-2016)

  • 97% of residents need help with daily activities such as getting out of bed, eating, or toileting; 1 in 3 are highly or entirely dependent on staff 
  • 97% of residents have two or more chronic conditions such as arthritis or heart disease
  • 90% have some form of cognitive impairment; 1 in 3 are severely impaired
  • 46% exhibit some level of aggressive behaviour related to their cognitive impairment or mental health condition
  • 61% take 10 or more different prescription medications
  • 58% use a wheelchair
  • 40% have a mood disorder such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia
  • 38% need monitoring for an acute medical condition

Source: Excerpted from This is Long-Term Care 2016 by the Ontario Long Term Care Association. Data references are available in the report.

Ontario's long-term care homes (December 2015)

  • 627 homes are homes licensed and approved to operate in Ontario
  • 57% of homes are privately owned, 24% are non-profit/charitable, 17% are municipal
  • More than 40% of long-term care homes are small, with 96 or fewer beds
  • Of these small homes, about 43% are located in rural communities that often have limited home care or retirement home option
  • 76,982 long-stay beds are allocated to provide care, accommodation and services to frail seniors who require permanent placement
  • 708 convalescent care beds are allocated to provide short-term care as a bridge between hospitalization and a patient's home
  • 362 beds are allocated to provide respite to families who need a break from caring 24/7 for their loved one
  • Approximately 300 of the provinces long-term care homes are older and need to be redeveloped (more than 30,000 beds)
  • The average time to placement in long-term care, as of December 2015, is 103 days 
  • The wait list for long-stay beds, as of December 2015, is 26,495
Sources: Long-Term Care Utilization Report, December 2015, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; Ontario Long Term Care Association, internal database, 2015.

Long-term care home provincial and LHIN dashboards (April 2017)

The Association has developed a series of dashboards with data related to resident demographics, quality indicators, waitlist, wait times and more, within each Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). We have also developed an overall dashboard for all of Ontario, using province-wide data. These dashboards are meant to help you gain a better understanding of what long-term care looks like in your own community and how regional homes are faring when it comes to factors such as wait lists and quality improvement. Please note that this information is gathered from various data sources that are collected throughout the year and, as such, some numbers may not be available on some reports; the information on the dashboard is the most recent available as per date of publication.

Click below to view the Ontario-wide or a LHIN-specific dashboard:

Moving to long-term care

In Ontario, Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) are the gatekeepers of long-term care. A family doctor, family member, or home care worker may tell the CCAC that it is no longer possible to keep the person in his or her home, but the CCAC conducts the assessment and makes the decision. 

In order to be placed in a long-term care home an individual must meet certain eligibility criteria as defined by regulation and assessed by your local CCAC:
  • Be 18 years-of-age or older
  • Have a valid Ontario Health Card
  • Have health care needs that cannot be met with any combination of care giving, care in your home or care in your community
  • Have health care needs that can be met in a long-term care home

CCACs assess all applicants for long-term care homes to determine eligibility for admission and will assist in selecting a long-term care home of choice. For more information on assessment and eligibility, the application process and the services provided in long-term care, click here.

Residents pay a portion of long-term care

Long-term care is part of the province’s health care system and publicly funded on a cost-shared basis with residents. The government does not pay the full cost of long-term care and expects residents to pay a portion of their “room and board” to the long-term care home. This “room and board” payment is what long-term care homes use to make a return on their investment. Funding allocated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for nursing and personal care, programs, support services, or raw food (used to make meals) is separate and must be reconciled at the end of the year. Unspent funds are returned to the government.

Provincial funding for long-term care in 2016:
  • $4.07 billion (7.9% of the overall provincial health budget)
  • $142.47 per resident, per day ($52,000 per year)
  • Approximately $94.37 per day for nursing and personal care (such as assistance with personal hygiene, bathing, eating, and toileting)
  • $11.60 per day for specialized therapies, recreational programs, and support services
  • $8.33 per day for raw food (ingredients used to prepare meals)

Source: 2016 Ontario Budget, LTCH Level-of-Care Per Diem Funding Summary (July 1, 2016) 

The government sets the amount that residents must pay the home, with an opportunity to qualify for a subsidy if a resident's basic accommodations are not affordable. Residents also pay out of pocket for any medications or other services not covered by their private insurance plans or the provincial drug benefit program.

As of July 1, 2016, the maximum accommodation rates are as follows:

Type of Accommodation  Daily Co-Payment
 Basic Long Stay  $58.99
 Semi-Private Long Stay*  $67.08-$71.12
 Private Long Stay*  $77.19-$84.27
 Short Stay (Respite)  $38.19

*Varies depending a home’s structural class.

Source: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Senior’s Care: Long-Term Care Homes.