Ontario Investing $1 Billion More to Expand Home Care
WHITBY — As part of the Ontario government’s plan to stay open, and to help seniors and recovering patients stay in the homes they love, the Ontario government is investing $1 billion more over the next three years to further expand home care. This funding will benefit the nearly 700,000 families who rely on home care annually, preventing unnecessary hospital and long-term care admissions and shortening hospital stays. Expanding home care will provide Ontarians with the choice to stay in their home and help with hospital capacity to keep the province open.
“Since the beginning, our government has been taking action to deliver a patient-centred health care system that provides Ontarians with more choice,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This significant investment will ensure Ontarians can receive the care they need in the comfort of their own homes and alleviate unnecessary pressure on our hospitals helping to keep our province open.”
This funding will support expanded home care services, while recruiting and training more home care workers. It builds on the $548.5 million over three years to expand home care services that was announced in Ontario’s 2021 Fall Economic Statement.
Expanding home care will bolster Ontario’s Plan to Stay Open by allowing patients to receive the care they need in the comfort of their own home, preserving hospital beds for those who need them most. This is in addition to other measures the government is taking to keep the province open including:
- Investing $142 million to launch the new “Learn and Stay” grant. The program will start with $81 million over the next two years to expand the Community Commitment Program for Nurses for up to 1,500 nurse graduates each year to receive full tuition reimbursement in exchange for committing to practice for two years in an underserved community. Starting in Spring 2023, applications will open for up to 2,500 eligible students each year who commit to stay in their region working in an underserved community for up to two years after graduating. Students will be eligible to receive full, upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs.
- Investing $764 million over two years to provide Ontario’s nurses with a retention incentive of up to $5,000 per person.
- Training more doctors through the largest expansion of medical school education in over 10 years by adding 160 undergraduate seats and 295 postgraduate positions over the next five years.
- Shoring-up domestic production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and critical supplies and equipment (CSE) through first-of-its-kind-in-Canada legislation that requires the province to maintain an ongoing supply of PPE and CSE to protect Ontario’s public services and its critical frontline workers who provide essential services.
- Building hospital beds through more than 50 major capital expansion projects that would add 3,000 new beds over 10 years and additional investments to support the continuation of over 3,000 acute and post-acute beds in hospitals and alternate health care facilities, and hundreds of new adult, paediatric and neonatal critical care beds.
“Our government has a plan to deliver quality of care for patients where and when they choose, while building our health care capacity to ensure Ontario will stay open,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “By investing up to $1 billion in home care and providing tax credits to make homes safer and more accessible, our government is helping Ontario’s seniors and patients stay in the homes that they love.”
- Home care provides personal support services, nursing and other professional services to seniors and people of all ages who need care to stay at home or recover from a hospital stay.
- In 2021-22, Ontario’s total investment in home and community care was $4.5 billion.
- Ontario is also helping to make homes safer and more accessible for seniors through the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit for 2021 and 2022. The credit, worth 25 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses, helps cover the costs of handrails, stair lifts and other modifications to make homes safer for seniors. The maximum credit is $2,500 for each year.
- The Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit will provide an estimated $65 million in support over 2021 and 2022. It is expected to support about 32,000 people in 2022.
- On May 1, 2022, the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994 and its regulations will be repealed and Bill 175, Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act, 2020 and a first set of new home and community care regulations will be proclaimed into force. This new legislation and regulations will provide a modernized framework for the delivery of home and community care services by Ontario Health Teams within an integrated health care system.
“Today’s announcement is good news for the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on home care every day. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a crisis in home care. We have seen nurses, PSWs and therapy professionals leaving the sector by the thousands, impacting care for people in every corner of the province. With today’s historic funding announcement, the government has taken a major step to stabilize home care from the effects of COVID-19. We are extremely grateful to Deputy Premier Elliott, Minister Bethlenfalvy and Premier Ford for listening to our calls for support.”
– Sue VanderBent
CEO, Home Care Ontario
“OCSA commends the province for their significant investment into home care services. This much needed funding will play a crucial role in helping the sector continue to deliver services, and reduce the growing pressure on hospital capacity. Home and community care service agencies continue to play an essential role in the system by supporting vulnerable Ontarians and maintaining their independence at home. A strong community care sector is the bedrock to a sustainable health system.”
– Deborah Simon
CEO of the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA)