“I think … every new build is good news for (everyone) living in long-term care.”
The provincial earmarking of nearly a billion dollars for 80 LTC projects comes at a time when the wait list for a bed numbers around 40,000. It also comes at a time when the involvement of for-profit entities in long-term care is under significant scrutiny.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Thursday that some of the provincial government’s $933-million investment was going to “the very for-profit corporations that allowed horrific suffering, neglect, illness and death to run rampant in their facilities during the pandemic.”
But there are others, including OPSEU President Smokey Thomas, who applaud the provincial funding injection. In a media release, the union pointed out that 63 per cent of the 7,510 new LTC spaces announced Thursday would be delivered by not-for-profits and municipalities.
“We’ve seen what a disaster privatized care has been during the pandemic,” Thomas said. “It’s time to do better. The transition won’t happen overnight, but we’re headed in the right direction, finally.”
Stephenson, meanwhile, said his company was bringing new capital and new thinking to the long-term care sector. “And there is a very significant backlog that the province wants to satisfy, and … the private sector can go some distance in doing that.”
Fellow for-profit Extendicare was allocated 192 upgraded spaces in Ottawa as a part of Thursday’s announcement.
Extendicare is building a new long-term care home in Stittsville — provincial support was announced in November — with construction planned to begin before the end of this year. According to the ministry of long-term care, all residents at Extendicare West End Villa will be relocated to the Stittsville home and West End Villa will be renovated and gain a small addition. Then 192 beds will be transferred to that location from Extendicare’s Starwood and Laurier Manor locations.
The company, whose Ottawa residences saw number of devastating COVID-19 outbreaks, said it was committed to redeveloping all older homes in Ontario to modern design standards.
Other local allocations include 156 spaces for the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre — the Perley wants to build a new 240-bed LTC home on its campus — and 60 new and 70 upgraded spaces for the Osgoode Care Centre. Both are non-profit homes.
While timelines for LTC development projects can vary based on several factors, the ministry said that, generally, once an operator has a site and financing secured, homes take an average of 36 months to develop.
This content was originally published here.