Four Fixes for Ontario's Long-Term Care Crisis


June 29, 2020 

HAMILTON – As COVID-related deaths highlight the pre-existing crisis in Ontario long-term care (LTC) homes, a new report from think tank Cardus is recommending four important reforms. The report Structural Challenges to Personal Support Worker Funding identifies four fixes for Ontario to undertake:

  • Fix the LTC funding model. Ontario’s funding model for LTC doesn’t keep pace with the increasing needs of residents, given that only those with high and very high needs are eligible for admission into LTC and that responsibilities for such patients have been downloaded to LTC homes from hospitals.
  • Fix the broken collective bargaining system. Personal support workers’ (PSW) unions are unable to negotiate fair wages for their members because of predominantly centralized bargaining and the lack of direct negotiations between unions and government, which fund the LTC system.
  • Fix poor working conditions for PSWs. LTC homes would be able to recruit and keep PSWs more easily if excessive paperwork demands were reduced and workplace safety were improved, which could happen with a better funding model and improved collective bargaining.
  • Fix the over-emphasis on institutional-type LTC care. Ontario needs to move away from elder care in large-scale, institutional settings and adopt smaller, community-based homes embedded in neighbourhoods, increasing the availability of more personal and higher-quality care.

“While more funding for long-term care is a necessary part of the solution to Ontario’s crisis, on its own, it will not solve the structural problems in the system,” says Brian Dijkema, co-author of the Cardus report. “The wholesale changes we recommend, however, will set up LTC on a firmer foundation to serve our aging population and provide meaningful, rewarding work for PSWs who’ve been heroes during the COVID crisis.”

To read the full report, Structural Challenges to Personal Support Worker Funding, visit our website.


 Daniel Proussalidis
 Cardus – Director of Communications


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.