Retirement residences are personal “homes,” not nursing homes. They’re designed, built and operated by companies for people aged 65 and up, places people choose to live based on their needs and what they can afford.
To be clear, this is not a story about the government putting financial pressure on Ontario’s more than 770 retirement homes or the more than 60,000 people who live in them. And importantly, retirement homes should not be confused with long-term care homes that fall under the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.
Additionally, retirement homes must adhere strictly to comprehensive standards set by law, with oversight from an organization called the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority or RHRA. And it is the RHRA that’s proposing the 70% price hike set to begin in January 2022.
What does it mean? The price is going from $10 to $17 per suite per month for the more than 770 retirement homes in Ontario. So, calculator in hand, and based on 60,000 residents, the regulator’s fee jumps to over $12 million per year from the current just over $7 million.
The numbers make some wonder how those who live in retirement homes could be impacted, and John Harrison, Executive Director of Cobourg Retirement Residence (in Cobourg, Ontario) explains:
“Although RHRA states that these fee increases are being charged to the licensee (owners and operators) and has not asked for input from residents and families, the facts are that retirement homes are not subsidized or government-funded, and all costs are eventually borne by the residents, this includes food, supplies, taxes, insurance, and staff. Our concerns are not about inspections or regulations, as we do not wish to reduce the availability to inspect as needed, however they are about transparency and efficient use of resources. We would appreciate the opportunity to work with the RHRA and arrive at a reasonable increase for 2022.”
Some also wonder what the RHRA based the increase upon.
In literature made available by RHRA, six key initiatives that require more funding highlight
- More proactive inspections
- Improved response time for situations that require mandatory reporting
- Improved consistency for compliance monitoring
- More time assessment of enforcement action (e.g. to comply with law
- Education and Awareness campaign about rights and protections of residents and how to make complaints