KING-VAUGHAN – Ontario is protecting its progress in the fight against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant by improving the safety and quality of care of retirement home residents with enhanced infection prevention and control measures and helping recruit and retain new staff.
The province is providing an additional $11 million to further improve safety in retirement homes so residents can continue to stay safe through the pandemic. This includes $8 million to support teams to assist retirement homes with infection prevention and control (IPAC), testing and vaccination, as well as more staff to support ongoing active screening, antigen testing, and IPAC audits. This investment builds on the more than $60 million that the government has already provided to retirement homes since the start of the pandemic.
The province is also investing $3 million in mobile staffing support teams to quickly respond and ensure retirement homes have staff to meet the needs of residents.
“Our priority is on protecting the most vulnerable — including, notably, our seniors,” said Stephen Lecce, MPP for King-Vaughan. “The government has increased investment by $8 million to ensure retirement homes have the staffing needed to support strong infection prevention and control.”
“Protecting the health and safety of residents in our retirement homes is our top priority,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “Our government is ensuring that retirement home residents, family members and staff are receiving the world class care they deserve and the best protection possible from COVID-19 and any future variants.”
To improve care and reduce staffing shortages in retirement homes, Ontario continues to partner with the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN). Applications have opened for the second round of the Recruitment and Retention Incentive Program. This initiative supports retirement homes by providing personal support workers with an incentive payment of $5,000 for a six-month commitment, and nurses with $10,000 for a one-year commitment.
“WeRPN is once again, happy to support this very important recruitment and retention initiative,” said WeRPN CEO Dianne Martin. “These challenging times have proven that now more than ever, we need skilled PSWs and nurses in Ontario’s retirement homes and we are pleased to partner with the government to support this program.”
Investments in infection prevention and control measures and staffing solutions for retirement homes are part of the Ontario government’s decisive action to support its most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are 66,000 residents in Ontario’s licensed retirement homes.
By 2023, there will be 3 million Ontarians over the age of 65 – older adults are the province’s fastest growing demographic.
The Recruitment and Retention Incentive Program was announced in the 2021 Ontario Budget. The first round was launched in August and resulted in 184 personal support workers and 25 nurses being approved for staffing incentives.
The Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021 passed on December 9th and will significantly improve the health, protection, and well-being of residents in retirement homes.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19.