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ONTARIO: Province to spend $30M to cover the cost of COVID-19 expenses in retirement homes

Money can be used to purchase personal protective equipment and to hire and train new staff
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(File photo)

The province announced Tuesday it is spending $30-million to help the retirement home sector cover off unexpected COVID-19 related costs such as hiring, training and testing additional staff, sanitizing residences and buying supplies to help control the spread of infection. 

The province said this money is in addition to the $30.9 million invested previously by the province to help retirement homes cope with the pandemic.

Raymond Cho, Ontario's Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, said retirement home operators are working hard to keep the homes as safe as possible.  

"Our government's additional funding will enable retirement homes to purchase more critical supplies like PPE, products to carry out deep cleaning, or to support more on-site testing to help further prevent and contain outbreaks," said Cho. 

Ontario has more than 770 licensed retirement homes with many being run by small operators who urgently need the government's support to deal with rising costs related to fighting COVID-19, said the ministry.

Ontario's retirement homes have been working cooperatively with public health officials across the province to ensure best practices are being followed to prevent and control COVID-19 and to help get residents and staff vaccinated, said the release.

Cathy Hecimovich, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) said the safety and protection of retirement home residents is the priority for home operators.   

"We are grateful to work with a government that recognizes the vital role retirement communities play in Ontario's continuum of care for seniors. Thank you for your continued support of the retirement community sector as we work together to keep Ontario's seniors safe," said Hecimovich.

The move was endorsed by Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board.

"Our priority since the start of the pandemic has been clear - protecting people's health. That means ensuring retirement home operators and staff have the resources they need to keep people safe," said Bethlenfalvy.

"Making sure our seniors are protected and cared for is part of our plan to do whatever is necessary to defeat COVID-19," he added.