The evidence is clear, overwhelming and tragic: Canada has a fundamental problem providing quality long-term residential care (LTC) to those whose lives and well-being depend upon it. Although many LTC homes did not experience high COVID-19 death rates, over two-thirds of Canada’s overall deaths occurred in these homes, a ratio more than 50% higher than in other OECD countries.
This catastrophe is rooted in decades of underfunding and neglect, as the recent reports by Ontario’s Auditor General and Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission (the Commission) have laid bare. Addressing these problems will require comprehensive reform: increased government funding, reduced wait lists, better standards of care and staffing, effective enforcement, and far less contracting out. Crucial to success, as the Commission rightly acknowledges, will be limiting the profit motive in delivering this essential service.