‘Upgrading ventilation systems to ensure cleaner air in Ontario’s long-term care homes will be critical to the health and safety of residents and the people that care for them’
The federal and Ontario governments are investing $99.4 million in 95 projects to improve long-term care homes across the province.
The funding will help with upgrades and improvements to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HCAV) and sprinkler systems in long-term care homes across Ontario.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Canada’s most vulnerable populations. As we continue to battle this crisis, upgrading ventilation systems to ensure cleaner air in Ontario’s long-term care homes will be critical to the health and safety of residents and the people that care for them,” Catherine McKenna, federal minister of infrastructure and communities.
“The Government of Canada is investing 80 cents on every dollar invested in these important projects across the province. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”
The federal government is investing more than $79.5 million toward these projects while Ontario will provide over $19.8 million through the COVID-19 Resilience Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
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) released last month.
A COVID-19 Resilience Stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure, according to the federal government. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories.
Stronger, healthier, safer
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, investments in the health and wellness of Ontarians are more critical than ever,” said Laurie Scott, Ontario’s minister of infrastructure. “Supporting air quality and other infrastructure projects in long-term care homes helps to protect our communities, making them stronger, healthier and safer. That is why Ontario is making this investment to protect our health and our economy.”
In its 2021 Budget, Ontario also set aside an additional $933 million over four years, for a total of $2.6 billion, for the long-term care system to support building 30,000 new long-term care beds.
In May 2020, the Ontario government received a report from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) which details medical, professional and technical issues present in five long-term care facilities in the province, which the military inspected over two weeks.
“The reports they provided us were heart-breaking, they were horrific. It’s shocking that this can happen here in Canada,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford then. “It’s gut-wrenching, and reading those reports is the hardest thing I’ve done as Premier, knowing that so much more needs to be done.”
In June 2020, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) released a report that compiled 35 reports about the troubles in the province’s long-term care system, and the recommendations that different groups have made since 1999.