Government of Canada Invests More than $115 Million to Support Canadians Living in Long-Term Care in Alberta
August 24, 2022 | Calgary, Alberta | Health Canada
As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must address the existing challenges that worsened for many people in Canada, including those living in long-term care (LTC) homes. Over the last two years, we have seen gaps in infection prevention and control, staffing and infrastructure, with tragic effects on residents, their families and those working in LTC homes. We know that these challenges remain and as a government, we must continue to do more to ensure all seniors get the quality care they deserve.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, joined by George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview, announced the signing of the Safe Long-Term Care Fund (SLTCF) agreement with Alberta. Through this agreement, Alberta is receiving more than $115 million from the $1 billion investment made in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement (FES).
Since its introduction in FES 2020, the SLTCF has helped provinces and territories to improve infection prevention and control in LTC homes across the country. Alberta, with this investment, has built on existing projects in LTC homes to further support:
- Wage top-ups to increase health care aide staffing levels;
- Additional staff to enhance screening and cleaning protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other infections;
- Adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and visitors; and
- Reduced occupancy within shared rooms to lower the risk of infection between residents.
The Government of Canada will continue to work collaboratively with provinces and territories to drive positive healthcare outcomes for Canadians. That is why in March 2022, we announced an investment of $2 billion to help our provincial and territorial partners significantly reduce the backlog of surgeries delayed because of COVID-19. This investment is part of a broader list of priority areas in health care, which are:
- Reduce backlogs and support our health care workers;
- Enhance access to family health services
- Improve mental health and substance use services;
- Help Canadians age with dignity, closer to home; and
- Use health data and digital health more effectively.
By focusing on these areas, we will help ensure that our health care system is better suited to keeping everyone healthy and safe, including seniors living in LTC homes.
“Canadians should have access to safe and quality health care at all stages of their lives. Today’s agreement with Alberta will help address the challenges affecting long-term care homes to ensure that all seniors are treated with dignity and receive appropriate care. By working with all provinces and territories to strengthen our health care system, our government will continue to be there for seniors in Alberta, and everywhere in Canada.”
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Canada’s Minister of Health
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on seniors here in Alberta and across Canada, especially for those living in long-term care homes. With this partnership between our federal and provincial governments, long-term care homes in Alberta will be able to further support their staff and infection prevention in order to improve the quality of life for seniors and keep their living environment safe”.
Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview
“Protecting seniors and vulnerable Albertans in continuing care homes has always been our top priority throughout the pandemic. Since March 2020, the Alberta government has provided approximately $300 million annually to protect staff and residents in continuing care homes and contracted home care from COVID-19, and to help with the extra costs associated with preventing and managing outbreaks. We are grateful for this additional support offered by the federal government.”
Alberta’s Minister of Health
- To ensure transparency for Canadians on the funding provided through the SLTCF, provinces and territories will develop and publish action plans that list their specific investments and performance metrics.
- In addition to the SLTCF, the Government of Canada has also invested to address the gaps in LTC identified during the pandemic:
- By investing $740 million in the Safe Restart Agreement, providing funding to provinces and territories to support vulnerable populations, including addressing the immediate needs in LTC.
- By providing up to $3 billion in federal funding to support provinces and territories to increase the wages of low-income essential workers, which could include front line workers in hospitals and LTC homes.
- By providing an additional $10.7 million to Healthcare Excellence Canada to support LTC homes across the country through the LTC+ initiative. More than 1,500 facilities are participating in the program.
- As well, Budget 2021 included a $3 billion investment over five years, starting in
2022-23, to support provinces and territories in applying LTC standards and making permanent changes. This new funding will be available to help provinces and territories strengthen compliance and enforcement activities and support workforce stability, including through wage top ups and improvements to workplace conditions (e.g., staff to patient ratios, hours of work).
- Budget 2022 reiterated a commitment from the federal government to work with PTs on priorities that result in better health outcomes, such as long-term, home and community care. Budget 2022 also proposed the creation of an expert panel, which will report to the Minister of Seniors and the Minister of Health to study the idea of an Aging at Home Benefit.
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
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