Statement from CEO Donna Duncan on the Ontario provincial election:
“The Ontario Long Term Care Association, representing 70 per cent of the province’s long-term care (LTC) homes, welcomes the new government and looks forward to working together to address the escalating healthcare needs of our aging population.
The pandemic exposed the long-standing systemic issues faced by long-term care homes, ignored by successive governments for decades. A new awareness is now emerging of what’s required to build a system ready to care for Ontario’s seniors, now and for generations to come.
However, the 2022 provincial election campaign showed there was a lack of understanding among many candidates of the issues affecting the quality of life and living for Ontario’s seniors and long-term care residents. It’s important for all parties to understand the structural issues affecting seniors’ care, and to work together on positive solutions.
In particular, there is an urgent need to find innovative solutions to increase the workforce for seniors’ care. The population of Ontarians over 80 will double in Ontario over the next 13 years. Provincial programs are underway to recruit and retain staff, but much more needs to be done to build a larger workforce to care for the growing population of seniors – not only in long-term care, but across the health system. With the rapidly increasing population of seniors, we need more staff and more investments in all areas. It will take all parties and all partners in the healthcare system working together to make further progress on this challenging situation.
In long-term care alone, an estimated 58,600 more nurses and personal support workers will be needed by 2029 to provide the additional hours of frontline care committed by the government and to support the thousands of additional residents when an estimated 30,000 new LTC spaces (beds) are in service.
In addition to addressing the structural issues, we continue to request that members of all parties discuss seniors’ care issues with sensitivity, taking care to avoid negative language that perpetuates any stigma surrounding aging or long-term care. Language choices matter and can affect the well-being of residents, families and staff.
Ontario’s long-term care sector is committed to transforming long-term care which the OLTCA has outlined in Caring for our future: Transforming Ontario’s long-term care system. This comprehensive and achievable plan provides a roadmap to better serve Ontario’s seniors now and for generations to come.”