Ontario Protecting Seniors in Retirement Homes During COVID-19 Outbreak

Published on April 03, 2020

TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, issued the following statement addressing concerns regarding staffing for retirement homes during the COVID-19 outbreak:

"As the province takes decisive action to safeguard the health and safety of Ontarians, we are taking immediate action to protect seniors living in retirement homes.

A temporary order has been made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that will help retirement homes address emergency staffing needs as they respond to COVID-19. With this temporary action, retirement homes will have more flexibility to recruit and reassign staff to address the impacts of this new virus and will be able to focus more resources toward implementing the protocols and procedures put in place to keep residents safe.

Retirement homes are also required to report any outbreak of COVID-19 to the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, as well as the local medical officer of health.

These important measures are aligned with similar orders issued for hospitals and long-term care homes and will allow retirement homes to more quickly deploy personnel as needed.

To further safeguard the health of seniors living in retirement homes our government has also amended the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 requiring that all retirement homes follow the Chief Medical Officer of Health's guidance and recommendations regarding infection control and prevention. We are also investing $20 million in additional funding to support increased infection control and active screening measures.

Our government will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and safety of Ontarians, especially Ontario's most vulnerable people."

Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19 or to take a self assessment.