Consultation on Safe Long-Term Care Act

The Federal government has launched a consultation in advance of new Long-Term Care (LTC) legislation. This is an important opportunity for all Canadians to advocate for change in the system that can impact current and future LTC residents. Here is the survey link: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/programs/consultation-safe-long-term-care.html

We encourage you to add your voice to this consultation. The government needs to know that long-term care is a critical issue for all Canadians. Whether you are directly affected or know someone in long-term care, the reality is there will always be a need for it. So, let’s make it better – together!

Concerned Friends is responding to this call. You can view our full submission below.

July 29, 2023

Home and Long-Term Care Unit, Health Canada
200 Eglantine Driveway, Tunney’s Pasture
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0K9

Submitted via email: ltc-sld@hc-sc.gc.ca

Dear Sir or Madam:

RE: Consultation on Safe Long-Term Care Act

Concerned Friends is a charitable grassroots organization in Ontario with a 40-year record as a voice for quality, safe, and resident-centred Long-Term care (LTC) as part of a fully developed, well-funded, and integrated continuum of services and supports.

We welcome the opportunity to provide input into the federal government’s Long-Term Care Act. Moreover, we encourage the federal government to play a vigorous leadership role in this critically important area. Our key points are as follows:

1. The federal government should communicate clearly that LTC in Canada needs urgent attention and substantial increases in funding. This can be accomplished through designated funding transfers, and other strategies developed alongside the new Long-Term Care Act. 

2. Federal funding for LTC needs to address the complex and varied factors that are currently undermining access, quality and safety in long-term care homes (LTCH).
The high number of deaths among LTCH residents, compared to those in some other developed countries, reflects fundamental problems requiring attention including:

    • under-staffing (both in numbers and skill mix);
    • poor recruitment and retention of qualified LTC staff due to their lower salaries and benefits as compared to those working in acute care settings;
    • out-dated and poorly designed infrastructure with multiple residents in a room, lack of sinks/hand-washing stations, and poor ventilation; and,
    • large LTC institutions where an outbreak within a setting infected many staff and residents;

    In some provinces, like Ontario, these problems are exacerbated by the preponderance of for-profit LTCHs rather than not-for-profit or publicly-operated homes where death rates were significantly lower.

    3. The federal government must lead the way by disseminating models of long-term care that offer an integrated continuum of services including community supports, supportive housing, home care, small institutions and specialized settings, linked with primary health care and acute care settings, and where a common health record is shared among health care providers. 

    Creating a comprehensive system of care is especially urgent given the projected increase in the number of older adults in Canada who will need some form of care or support over the next decades and given the anticipated complexity of their health and social needs.

    4. The Federal Government must create significant incentives for provinces to adopt and fully implement the newly released federal standards for LTC.  

    Federal incentives and funding should be contingent upon the adoption and meaningful implementation of the standards by provinces. A robust evaluation should focus on how these standards are being enforced and funded by the provinces.

    5. The Federal government should designate the percentage of federal health funding that must go to the full continuum of long-term care including small institutions and home care.

    6. The federal government should convene provinces and territories to:
    (a) Implement evidence-based models of care that keep seniors safe, directly in their communities (when possible), and fosters their well-being; and,

    (b) develop a national human resource strategy for LTC health professionals, to effectively train, recruit, retain and advance long-term care health care workers. Inevitably this must include funding to ensure the long-term care sector can offer competitive compensation packages to its workforce.

    Submitted by Kristle Calisto-Tavares
    President, Board of Directors
    Concerned Friends of Ontario

    CF Name Logo

    130 Merton St, Suite 600
    Toronto, ON M4S 1A4