Bill 37 fails to present new vision for long-term care in Ontario, says senior citizen organization

Bill 37 enacted to improve long-term care system in the province

Bill 37 fails to present new vision for long-term care in Ontario, says senior citizen organization

The Council on Aging of Ottawa (CAO) responded to Bill 37, which recently changed the Long-Term Care Homes Act.

Bill 37, or the Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021, seeks to improve the long-term care system in Ontario after high COVID-related death rates in long-term care facilities across the province. The bill received royal assent in December 2021.

According to CAO, the government has failed to present a new vision for long-term care in the province and support real transformation in the sector despite the bill’s introduction.

While the bill contains aspirational language in its preamble and suggests COVID-19 pandemic response plans, CAO noticed that numerous provisions do not differ substantially from the previous long-term care legislation.

“It does little to ensure that [long-term care] will meet the needs of a changing and growing older Ontario population and encourage more municipal development of [long-term care homes],” CAO said.

CAO also pointed out that the bill does not address the important issues of ownership and improvement of working conditions in long-term care homes and fails to address funding issues, such as changes in capital funding and accommodation fees.

CAO stressed that the government must bolster provisions on care and services to guarantee that the four hours of direct care “are a minimum care standard for long-term care homes rather than a target.” It also urged the government to implement the care standard as soon as possible and not wait for four more years.

CAO further recommended the development of a comprehensive “Older Adult Strategy” aimed at including an independent advocate similar to other jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, “to ensure a strong and independent voice for older adults” across the province.

CAO is a bilingual, volunteer-based charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of senior citizens living in Ottawa. It strives to promote the basic tenets of an inclusive, caring city and the importance of community-wide engagement with a particular focus on the vulnerable and isolated.

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