Government Introduces Legislation to "Fix" Long-Term Care Act.

On October 28, 2021, Bill 37, Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021 was introduced by government to improve the well-being of residents in long-term care and retirement homes, and ensure they get the care they deserve.

If passed, the Act will replace the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007

The Bill reflects a plan that is built on three pillars: staffing and care; accountability, enforcement, and transparency; and building modern, safe, comfortable homes for seniors and if passed would;

  • establish the commitment to provide an average of four hours of daily direct care per resident per day by March 31, 2025
  • strengthen the Residents’ Bill of Rights to align with the Ontario Human Rights Code and recognizing the role caregivers play in resident health and well-being
  • implement new requirements for annual resident, family, and caregiver surveys
  • establish new compliance and enforcement tools, including doubling the fines on the conviction of an offence under the proposed legislation
  • introduce a Minister’s review of a Director’s decision in the licensing process.

View Government announcement.

View Bill 37 

Implications for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists have meaningful roles in Ontario long-term care homes but have been severely restricted in funded hours to provide services to residents. OSOT has long advocated for increased access to OT services and was an active participant in the LTC Homes Staffing Review of 2019 which resulted in new recommendations that would be enshrined in the new legislation. Occupational therapists working in long-term care are advised to monitor this legislative proposal. 

Key points of interest to OTs in the proposed Bill include:

  •  commitment that "the principles, purpose and philosophy of care set out in the mission statement are driven by the primary goal of providing quality care that is resident-directed and safe"

  • The proposed legislation would provide legislated commitment to the LTCH Staffing Plan which addresses increases to nursing and allied health staff.  Specifically, the plan directs an increase in allied health staffing to an average of 36 minutes of direct care to be provided per resident per day by March 31, 2023. By March 31, 2022, the targeted increase is 33 minutes of direct care.  Note that allied health services may include PT, OT, Social Work. OSOT will continue to work to ensure that OT receives priority attention.

  • The government adds to the principles of the act the following statements;
    • commitment to the promotion of the delivery of long-term care home services by not-for-profit and mission-driven organizations
    • Respect for the requirements of the French Language Services Act in the planning, design, delivery and evaluation of long-term care services for Ontario’s French-speaking communities
    • Recognize of the role of Indigenous peoples in the planning, design, delivery, and evaluation of culturally safe long-term care services and care in their communities;

  • The Minister of Health shall consult annually with organizations that represent Resident Councils and Family Councils.

  • Every licensee of a long-term care home is required to implement a continuous quality improvement initiative, and the Minister is authorized to establish a Long-Term Care Quality Centre.
Review an annotated guide to the Government's new Long-Term Care Bill prepared by Queens Park Briefing here.