Ontario Investing More Than $3.3 Billion in Supports for Seniors and Caregivers
Ontario is moving forward with significant new funding to ensure seniors have better access to high-quality, professional care, whether they are living at home or in long-term care.
Premier Wynne spoke at the Together We Care convention in Etobicoke today, sharing with long-term care and retirement home professionals how the 2018 Budget makes the deliberate choice to invest in the care that seniors need right now, and will make a meaningful difference in the lives of seniors and their caregivers.
Ontario’s 2018 Budget makes more than $3.3 billion in additional investments to support seniors and caregivers over the next three years. For long-term care homes, this will mean $300 million over three years to increase care hours and support the hiring of more nurses and personal support workers. Ontario is committed to reaching a provincial average of four hours of direct care per day for every resident in long-term care, and this will help us get there.
Ontario’s 2018 Budget will also provide more care for seniors by:
- Investing $650 million in new funding over three years to bolster home and community care services by increasing personal support, nursing and therapy visits and caregiver respite hours.
- Keeping residents and support workers safe with a plan that includes an $8 million equipment fund to prevent falls and injuries, and new funding so every long-term care home can better care for residents with dementia.
- Creating the Seniors’ Healthy Home Program, a $1 billion investment over three years. This program will provide up to $750 per year for eligible households led by seniors 75 and over to help them offset the costs of living independently.
- Expanding OHIP+ next year to make prescription drugs free for people 65 and over, an annual investment of $575 million by 2020-21.
- Introducing a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program in 2019 for individuals and their families who do not have coverage from an extended health plan, representing a total investment of more than $800 million over the first two years of the program.
- Adding 30,000 long-term care beds over the next ten years — on top of the 30,000 Ontario is already redeveloping.
Improving access to high-quality care for seniors is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and easier access to affordable child care.
- Ontario’s health care budget will total $61.3 billion in 2018-19 — a five per cent increase from the previous year.
- Ontario is improving hospitals by providing better access to care, reducing wait times, addressing capacity issues and better meeting the needs of Ontario’s growing and aging population through an additional $822 million investment in 2018–19 — the largest increase to the hospital sector in almost a decade. The province will provide approximately $19 billion in capital grants over 10 years to continue building infrastructure that will support the health needs of local communities and residents.
- Since 2013, the government has expanded its investment in home and community care by about $250 million per year, in addition to ongoing funding of more than $5 billion.
- The number of seniors in Ontario is expected to grow from 2.4 million today to 4.5 million by 2040.
“Our seniors deserve the same dignity and comfort in their golden years that they have given to others along the way — as mothers and fathers and mentors and coworkers. This is no time to cut seniors care. We need to do more and these investments will ensure our parents and grandparents get the care they need, when and where they need it.”
“Ontario seniors have worked hard all their lives and we are working hard to ensure they get the health care support they need to live happy and healthy lives. Our government is making historic investments in health care because we owe this to our seniors and so much more.”
“Our sector has never before seen a budget commitment of this magnitude. We are very pleased to see such a concerted effort focused on improving the way our homes deliver care; commitments that we believe will have a lasting and profound impact on the lives of seniors and the care staff who support them.”