Funding is part of Ottawa's $1 billion investment through the Safe Long-Term Care Fund
The federal government is setting aside $15 million to increase infection prevention and control in long-term care facilities and seniors’ residences in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The pandemic has shone a light on systemic issues affecting long-term care facilities across the country,” Patty Hajdu, Canada’s minister of health. “The tragedies experienced because of COVID-19 must be met with action by all governments, and today’s funding to Newfoundland and Labrador reflects our commitment to make sure those living in long-term care receive safe, quality care and are treated with dignity.”
With this funding, Newfoundland and Labrador will hire infection prevention and control specialists and a pandemic coordinator, as well as increase human resources capacity and make working environments safer.
The funding will also help remediate aging infrastructure, like ventilation systems, introduce infection-resistant surfaces and furnishings and purchase medical equipment like commodes and privacy drapes, according to the federal government.
“We are committed to ensuring residents of long term care facilities receive high-quality care and are protected from infectious diseases such as Covid-19,” said John Haggie, Newfoundland and Labrador’s minister of health and community services. “This funding will assist in improving infrastructure and working environments to benefit all those living – and working – in our long term care facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Three-quarters (73 per cent) of Canadians surveyed believe that the high number of deaths in LTC homes related to COVID-19 could have been reduced if governments had acted sooner, according to a report from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the National Institute on Ageing (NIA).
The funding is part of the federal government’s $1 billion investment through the Safe Long-Term Care Fund (SLTCF), which helps provinces and territories support infection prevention and control in LTC through making improvements in ventilation, hiring additional staff and topping up wages. To ensure transparency for Canadians on the funding, provinces and territories develop and publish action plans that list their specific investments and performance metrics.
Previously, the federal government has also invested to address the gaps in the LTC program identified during the pandemic by investing $740 million in the Safe Restart Agreements to support provinces and territories in addressing the immediate needs within LTC.
The government also provided up to $3 billion in federal funding to support provinces and territories to increase the wages of low-income essential workers, which could include front-line workers in hospitals and LTC facilities. It also invested an additional $8.4 million to Healthcare Excellence Canada to support LTC facilities across the country through the LTC+ initiative. More than 1,000 facilities are participating in that program.
The federal government’s Budget 2021 also includes a $3 billion investment over five years, starting in 2022-23, to ensure that provinces and territories provide a high standard of care in their LTC facilities.