The Ontario government is launching one of the largest recruitment and training drives in the province’s history to deliver on its commitment to improve care for seniors in long-term care homes.
The province released its long-term care staffing plan that sets out actions to hire more staff, improve working conditions for existing staff, drive effective and accountable leadership, and implement retention strategies.
“We want more people working in long-term care to love what they do and thrive in their careers,” Premier Doug Ford said. “That’s why our new staffing plan will pursue innovative partnerships, like the one between George Brown College and the Rekai Centres, and more training opportunities for future nurses, personal support workers, and health care staff, so they can take pride in what they do and provide the care our loved ones need and deserve.”
Acting on expert recommendations, and building on the government’s 2020 Ontario budget commitment to increase hours of daily direct care to an average of four hours per day for each long-term care resident, the new staffing plan focuses on six key areas of action to be delivered over four years:
- Investing up to $1.9 billion annually by 2024-25 to create more than 27,000 new positions for personal support workers, registered nurses and registered practical nurses in long-term care to meet the direct care commitment; in addition, providing a 20 per cent increase in direct care time administered by other health care professionals such as physiotherapists and social workers.
- Accelerating and expanding education and training pathways in order to prepare and train the tens of thousands of new staff that will be required.
- Supporting continued professional development and growth of long-term care staff to improve retention.
- Improving working conditions for staff by coordinating with long-term care employers to increase full-time employment and promote innovative approaches to work and technology.
- Driving effective and accountable leadership in homes across the province to improve oversight, guidance and medical outcomes in long-term care homes.
- Measuring progress against key performance indicators.
“This staffing plan will make long-term care a better place for residents to live, and a better place for staff to work. It is a historic milestone as we continue to modernize the sector and ensure a sustainable and qualified workforce is in place to protect Ontario’s most vulnerable,” Long-term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton said. “Our ambitious plan is part of our commitment to solving the long-standing and systemic challenges the sector has faced after decades of neglect and underfunding. By working closely with all of our partners, we will deliver on our promise to provide our loved ones with the quality of life they deserve.”
Fixing the challenges in Ontario’s long-term care system will require partnerships between professional associations, labour unions, regulatory bodies, long-term care homes, and education and training providers to recruit and educate tens of thousands of new staff over the next four years. The Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development currently facilitates partnerships and training opportunities, including opportunities in the health and long-term care sectors, through initiatives, such as the SkillsAdvance Ontario, the Ontario Bridge Training Program, and the Second Career program.
The province will also engage with residents and families to develop a quality framework based on what quality of life and quality of care means to them. The new framework will outline performance measures to guide oversight and quality improvement in long-term care homes.
A Better Place to Live; A Better Place to Work: Ontario’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan is part of the government’s modernization agenda to create a long-term care sector that is resident-centred and provides the highest quality of care for our loved ones, when and where they need it.
In addition to launching this multi-year plan to ensure staffing Ontario’s long-term care sector is sustainable for years to come, the government has invested nearly $540 million, announced earlier this fall, to ramp up surveillance, increase infection prevention and control personnel, increase PPE supplies, and build a strong health care workforce at long-term care homes across the province.
Photo: “This staffing plan will make long-term care a better place for residents to live, and a better place for staff to work. It is a historic milestone as we continue to modernize the sector and ensure a sustainable and qualified workforce is in place to protect Ontario’s most vulnerable,” Long-term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton said.