EDITOR’S NOTE: Sault Business Matters has received the following media release from the office of Sault Ste. Marie member of parliament Terry Sheehan.
Every senior in Canada deserves to live in dignity, safety, and comfort, regardless of where they live. While a majority of Canadians want to age closer to home and their family, they also expect and deserve long-term care—if it is needed—to be high quality and safe.
Budget 2023 outlined the Government’s plan to provide close to $200 billion over 10 years in funding to provinces and territories to improve health care services for Canadians. Helping Canadians age with dignity at home with access to home care or in a safe long-term care (LTC) facility is one of the shared priorities of this funding.
Today, Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, announces the launch of a public online consultation by the Government of Canada to support the development of a Safe LTC Act.
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the problems in LTC and highlighted long-standing and systemic challenges across Canada. As the pandemic exposed uncomfortable truths within LTC, the Government of Canada is taking action to meet the evolving needs of seniors and to work with provinces and territories to support improvements.
The development of the Safe LTC Act builds on the Government of Canada’s commitment to support seniors and persons with disabilities across the country. On January 31, 2023, the Government of Canada welcomed the release of two independent LTC standards from CSA Group and the Health Standards Organization (HSO), which provide guidance for delivering services that are safe, reliable and—most importantly—centred on residents’ needs.
In the wake of the newly released LTC standards, for which the Government of Canada contributed close to $850,000 to develop a robust consultation strategy, this important legislation will aim to help foster advancements of the quality and safety in LTC services across the country.
The 60-day online consultation will invite people, including LTC residents and their families, to share their perspectives and expertise on how to improve the quality and safety of LTC, foster the implementation of the LTC standards, address human resources challenges, and strengthen accountability in the LTC sector. Feedback will help inform the drafting of the legislation.
Recognizing traditional jurisdictional responsibilities over the delivery of LTC, the Government of Canada will also work with provincial and territorial governments on the Safe LTC Act and how to best support the delivery of quality and safe LTC services. The consultations will also include discussions and roundtables with relevant experts and stakeholders to obtain advice on how federal legislation can help support improvements in the quality and safety of LTC.
The Government of Canada is committed to meeting the needs of seniors, including helping to ensure they can access the safe, quality health care they need and deserve.
“I encourage Sault Ste Marie and Algoma District residents to participate in these online consultations that will help us develop the Safe Long-Term Care (LTC) Act, which will help ensure the safety of seniors living in LTC homes. Our seniors worked hard all their lives making Sault Ste. Marie and area a great place to live, work and play. All seniors deserve to live their lives to the fullest with dignity and respect. Over this period, I will also be visiting our local Long Term Care homes to hear directly from residents, families and staff.”
– Terry Sheehan, MP Sault Ste. Marie
“All seniors deserve to live in dignity, regardless of where they live, and also expect long-term care to be safe, if it is needed. The launch of this online consultation is a key step to support the development of a Safe Long-Term Care (LTC) Act to help ensure the safety of seniors living in LTC homes. I encourage all Canadians to participate and share their thoughts during the consultation period.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
“We all witnessed the devastating realities in our long-term care homes during the pandemic. As a nurse volunteering on the frontlines, I saw them firsthand. The launch of the online consultation to inform the development of the Safe Long-Term Care (LTC) Act is an important step in our efforts to ensure that all seniors living in Long Term Care have access to the care they need. I encourage Canadians from coast to coast to coast to make their voices heard and share their perspectives on a future Safe LTC Act.”
– The Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors
- The online consultation to inform the development of the Safe LTC Act will run from July 21 to September 21.
- The development of the Safe LTC Act complements the Government’s ongoing work with provinces and territories to help support improvements in home and community care, including palliative care, and in LTC. This includes creating an expert panel to provide recommendations for supporting home and community care, as well as ensuring quality, safe, and respectful care for seniors and persons with disabilities in LTC homes across Canada.
- It builds on Budget 2021 funding commitments of $3 billion over five years provided to provinces and territories to support LTC improvements, and the $1 billion provided through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement to create the Safe LTC Fund, to protect people living and working in LTC.
- Budget 2023 included funding of $1.7 billion over five years to support hourly wage increases for personal support workers and related professions, who are critical to providing patient-centered care, so that they can keep doing what they do best – keeping patients healthy.
- To keep seniors safe, and improve their quality of life, the Government of Canada announced in October 2022 that the National Seniors Council will serve as an expert panel to examine measures, including a potential aging at home benefit, to further support Canadians who wish to age within the comfort of their own homes. The work of the expert panel is well underway, including public consultations of Canadians and stakeholders from across Canada.
- Since 2020, the Government of Canada has provided $10.7 million to Healthcare Excellence Canada, which has enabled more than 1,500 LTC facilities across Canada to implement best practices for preventing and addressing COVID-19 infection. Their next phase of work will be Reimagining LTC: Enabling a Healthy Workforce to Provide Person-Centred Care. Participating teams will be supported to address gaps in the safety and quality of care received in LTC.
- In 2017, the Government of Canada committed $11 billion over 10 years under the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities, which outlines common priorities for home and community care, including palliative care, and mental health and addictions services, which informed the development of ongoing bilateral agreements with provinces and territories.
- On July 5, 2023, the National Institute on Ageing released a jurisdictional review of LTC legislation, policies, directives and standards with HSO’s standard. The report, which received funding support from the Government of Canada, provides useful insight into the need for alignment in LTC delivery in Canada against the new national LTC standards. We will work with provinces and territories on the Safe LTC Act to support the quality and safety of LTC services.