Long-Term Care in Canada: Three-quarters say significant change is needed; only one-in-five believe it will happen
55 per cent of Canadians say they would accept a tax increase to fund improvements in LTC
July 26, 2021 – The gradual lifting of restrictions at long-term care facilities across Canada is offering opportunities for families whose loved ones survived the stress, uncertainty, grief and tragedy of COVID-19 to reconnect and regain some sense of normalcy.
But this moment of light in what has been among the darkest periods of the pandemic cannot mask a coming reckoning over how to prevent the devastating losses of life and persistent isolation residents of LTC facilities experienced as the pandemic wore on.
Indeed, the future of Canada’s long-term care industry is an issue that will continue to dominate conversations among policy makers, and family members, for months and years to come.
New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds four-in-five Canadians saying the pandemic fundamentally altered the way they view the industry.
Further, half of Canadians (47%) now say they will do everything in their power to avoid entering LTC themselves, and to keep close family members out. One-in-five (22%) say they’ll start saving for such a plan, while more than twice that number say they “dread” the thought of living in long-term care (44%).
If the industry is to be improved, three-quarters of Canadians say either significant changes (45%) or a total overhaul (31%) is necessary. For some, this means more federal government involvement. At least three-in-five residents in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada say that the federal government should be directly involved in creating standards for the industry. That said, in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec, the same number disagree, and say it should be solely up to the provinces.
More Key Findings:
- Three-in-five say private care should be minimized or phased out, rising to two-thirds among those 55 years of age and older. That said, two-in-five say that private care can still be a part of the solution to the problems facing the industry
- Seven-in-ten (72%) say Canada should invest more in homecare, and a full majority (55%) say they would be willing to pay more in taxes to accomplish it in their own province
- B.C. and Ontario residents are most willing to pay extra to fund long-term care. In each case, three-in-five say they would be amenable to paying two per cent more in personal taxes. The rest of the country is divided nearly fifty-fifty on that proposal
- In terms of top priorities for the industry, two-in-five say more enforcement of standards is needed (43%). Further, a similar number would increase the minimum number of staff per facility (39%) and raise their pay (38%) in order to recruit and retain quality employees