Submission on long-term care reform regulations

February 17, 2022

ONA has spoken out at every stage of Bill 37, the Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021. This bill put forward by the PC government repeals the current Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (LTCHA) and enacts in its place the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 (FLTCA). ONA raised concerns at the legislative stage of Bill 37 about understaffing and underfunding and called for an end to for-profit care. Unfortunately, it was rammed through Queen’s Park by the government and they did not listen to input from stakeholders.

The government has provided ONA the opportunity to submit feedback on the first phase of regulation development for Bill 37. These are the details that are needed to support the new FLTCA coming into force. In our submission ONA presents our positions on regulations that impact staffing and working conditions. Some of our key concerns include:

  • Hours of Care, Skill Mix, Retention: Urgent action is needed to improve staffing in long-term care. Ensure a minimum of four hours of direct care by registered nurses, registered practical nurses and personal support workers within each LTC home and appropriate skill mix. To retain staff, ensure parity with hospitals in salary, benefits, pension, and working conditions. Repeal Bill 124, which suppresses wages of members in non-profit homes.
  • RN Staffing: ONA opposes regulations that allow for an exception to the 24/7 RN staffing giving homes the ability to use anyone they feel is qualified during a pandemic.
  • Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC): Of concern is the failure to designate the IPAC lead as an RN and Infection Control Practitioner, trained and certified in IPAC Canada-endorsed courses.
  • Nurse Practitioners (NPs): missed opportunity to augment the role of NPs as Medical Directors.
  • Whistleblowing: support the expansion of protection to disclosing of information to Resident Councils and Family Councils but there is a missed opportunity to enhance whistle-blowing protections for staff, and to ensure that nurses are protected from potential regulatory consequences from the College of Nurses of Ontario.
  • Elimination of For-Profit Homes: the proposed regulations fail to introduce stronger penalties for bad actors. Government must phase-out for-profit care and new bed licenses should not be awarded to for-profit homes.

Read the full submission at this link.

Nurses and health-care professionals know what is needed to ensure systemic change in LTC. In our submission, ONA urges government to carefully consider our recommendations, which are informed by the knowledge and clinical experiences of our members in the LTC sector. We urge government to listen to our concerns and address these issues immediately.

Moving forward, there will be more regulations to come that will be important to ONA members, especially the four hours of care by nurses and personal support workers. We are following this process very closely and will keep you updated. We will not give up the fight for systemic change in this sector.