Ontario to Train, Recruit Over 27,000 New Staff for Long-Term Care Facilities

Ontario to Train, Recruit Over 27,000 New Staff for Long-Term Care Facilities
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton listen as they are briefed on COVID-19 Rapid Test Device kits at Humber River Hospital in Toronto, on Nov. 24, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
Isaac Teo
Ontario says it will create over 27,000 new positions to support seniors in long term care homes over the next four years. 
Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday that the province is launching its long-term care staffing plan to recruit new hires, retain existing staff, and improve working conditions to facilitate their work in the homes.
We want more people working in long-term care to love what they do and thrive in their careers,” Ford said. “That's why our new staffing plan will pursue innovative partnerships, like the one between George Brown College and the Rekai Centres.” 
The provincial government said it will invest up to $1.9 billion annually for the next four years. Primarily, the new plan will create over 27,000 new positions for personal support workers, registered nurses, and registered practical nurses. As for residents in long-term care homes, each of them can expect to receive an increase of direct care from staff for an average of four hours per day.
In addition, the plan will facilitate a 20 percent increase in direct care time provided by other health care professionals such as physiotherapists and social workers. 
Besides education and training for new hires, the province says the staffing plan will support continuous professional development and improve the working conditions for staff to improve retention in this sector. This will be done by coordinating with the long-term care employers. 
“Our ambitious plan is part of our commitment to solving the long-standing and systemic challenges the sector has faced after decades of neglect and underfunding,” Dr. Merrilee Fullerton said at the press conference at George Brown College's Waterfront Campus.
To overcome the challenges, the Ford government said it will require the “partnerships between professional associations, labour unions, regulatory bodies, long-term care homes, and education and training providers to recruit and educate tens of thousands of new staff over the next four years.”