McGuinty Government Moving Forward To Protect Retirement Home Residents



    Retirement Home Consultations Help Ontario Set Standards

    TORONTO, Sept. 7 /CNW/ - Retirement home residents can look forward to
better standards of the care and services they purchase as the Ontario
government moves toward regulating retirement homes, Minister Responsible for
Seniors Jim Bradley announced today.
    "At the consultations, we heard that there was public and industry
support for our efforts to put in place a regulatory framework that protects
residents," said Bradley. "That is why we are taking steps today towards
introducing consumer protection legislation that, if passed, would ensure that
all retirement homes have clear standards of care and services that help
better protect and inform consumers."
    Between January and March 2007, the Ontario government conducted a
province-wide 12-city public consultation tour on standards of care needed in
the province's retirement homes. The government heard from 800 seniors and
their families, retirement home operators, seniors' organizations, consumer
advocates, municipal representatives, and other interested parties about how
to make retirement homes better places to live. In June 2007, a report
summarizing the consultation input was sent to consultation participants, and
posted on www.OntarioSeniors.ca.

    
    The consultation suggested the government:

    -   Establish mandatory province-wide standards
    -   Establish a new agency, independent from government, to enforce these
        standards
    -   Build on the existing voluntary standards of the Ontario Retirement
        Communities Association (ORCA), refined over the past 13 years, and
    -   Provide education and training for all retirement home staff so they
        can understand and meet the new service standards.

    In response to these consultation results, the government is taking the
next steps toward establishing new consumer protection legislation by:

    -   Conducting a survey to determine the level of care and services
        currently being purchased by residents of Ontario's more than
        700 retirement homes. The results will inform the drafting of
        retirement home regulations.
    -   Consulting stakeholders on what should be included in a standard,
        plain-language contract between retirement homes and residents. The
        contract will clearly detail what care and services are being
        purchased, and will inform consumers and their families about
        alternative, publicly funded services to help ensure they make fully
        informed choices about their care and accommodation options
    

    "Ontario's seniors are very supportive of the government's efforts to
protect consumers in Ontario's growing retirement home industry. Standards for
care and services are overdue," said United Seniors Citizens of Ontario,
Ontario's largest seniors' organization, President Marie Smith. "We are
delighted this government has listened to the hundreds of seniors who
contributed to the consultations earlier this year."
    "For the last six years, the Ontario Retirement Communities Association
has been calling on the province to establish standards of care for retirement
homes, and to set up an independent agency to enforce them. We want to work
with this government to ensure all retirement home residents receive the high
quality care and services they have every right to expect," said Ontario
Retirement Communities Association Chief Executive Officer Gord White.
    This consumer protection initiative will help the more than 41,000
seniors living in Ontario's 700 retirement homes. Retirement home residents
pay for their own care and accommodations.

    
    This is another example of how, working together, Ontarians are achieving
results to improve the quality of life for seniors. Other McGuinty government
initiatives to support seniors include:

    -   Investing an additional $104.7 million in funding for home care
        services, bringing the total funding for home care to $1.54 billion
        for this year
    -   Investing hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce wait times for
        knee and hip joint replacements, cardiac care, MRI and CT scans,
        cataract and cancer surgeries
    -   Committing an additional $1.64 million over the next two years for
        Ontario's Strategy to Combat Elder Abuse.

    "The McGuinty government is committed to helping seniors live in safety,
with dignity and respect," said Bradley.

    Disponible en français

                            www.OntarioSeniors.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: David Oved, Minister's Office, (416) 314-1400;
Sandra Nicholson, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7242

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