The new unit is now active and will investigate allegations such as:

  • Failing to protect a resident from abuse or neglect,
  • Repeated and ongoing non-compliance,
  • Failing to comply with the ministry inspector’s orders,
  • Suppressing and/or falsifying mandatory reports, and
  • Negligence of corporate directors.

 

“These new investigators have the authority to add more accountability in the long-term care sector and will help address the most serious forms of non-compliance,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Long-Term Care. “The new unit complements what is already the toughest inspection and enforcement program in Canada, helping give residents the safety and quality of care they need and deserve.”

The newly appointed investigators completed comprehensive training over 19 weeks which consisted of in-class training, self-study modules and field experience. The training covered all aspects of the inspections program, the relevant legislation and regulation, investigative techniques such as interviewing, search warrant and report writing, as well as court procedures.

The new unit’s investigators are designated as Provincial Offences Officers under the Provincial Offences Act and will investigate allegations of offenses under the Fixing Long-Term Care Act. While inspectors identify and address non-compliance under the Act, investigators determine if there are grounds that an offence under the Act has been committed, which if prosecuted could result in fines and/or imprisonment.

“The creation of this new investigations unit under the Fixing Long Term Care Act marks an important step forward to continue protecting Ontario’s long-term care home residents,” said Attorney General, Doug Downey. “By providing investigators with the ability to refer cases to prosecutors as needed, this team will help to improve compliance with the Act, keep residents safe and provide comfort and certainty to residents and their families.”

The work of the Investigations Unit will complement Ontario’s existing robust inspections program and is in addition to a wider suite of changes the government introduced over the last two years to strengthen compliance and enforcement in the long-term care sector. These new measures include doubling the number of inspectors in the field, implementing a new and more efficient IT system for inspectors to track their work, and introducing new compliance and enforcement tools like administrative monetary penalties and re-inspection fees.

The government is fixing long-term care to ensure Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care and quality of life they need and deserve. The plan is built on four pillars: staffing and care; quality and enforcement; building modern, safe and comfortable homes; and connecting seniors with faster, more convenient access to the services they need.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is now a leading province in terms of inspector per long-term care home ratio in Canada, with one inspector for every two homes in the province.
  • The new Investigations Unit works apart from the inspections stream (however the two complement each other). Also, investigators will only look into allegations around the 11 provincial offences listed in the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021.
  • The Investigator and Senior Investigator positions will investigate allegations of offences under the Fixing Long-Term Care Act and make recommendations where appropriate for enforcement action, up to and including prosecution.
  • The Ontario government is providing up to $1.25 billion this year to long-term care homes to hire and retain thousands more long-term care staff. This is part of the government’s historic four-year, $4.9 billion commitment to increase the average direct care time provided by registered nurses, registered practical nurses and personal support workers to four hours per resident, per day, by March 31, 2025.
  • The government is investing $1 billion over three years to expand and improve home care services across the province and $100 million for community services. The 2023 Ontario Budget accelerated investments to bring home care funding in 2023-24 up to $569 million.

Quotes

“Ontario’s long-term care homes who are providers of affordable housing and specialized care are committed to the well-being of their residents and providing high-quality care. There is zero tolerance for abuse. Major transformation is happening across the province as homes seek to replace older buildings and create new models of emotion-focused and person-centred care. We look forward to the province’s continued support in addressing long-standing systemic issues including a significant staffing shortage across the health care system and the need to rebuild Ontario’s older long-term care homes.”

– Donna Duncan
CEO, Ontario Long Term Care Association

 

“We are very pleased to see the launch of Ontario’s brand-new long-term care investigations unit and the steps being taken to enhance inspections, enforcement, and accountability within long-term care homes across the province. With this unit and the specialized training of its investigators, we anticipate greater focus on sector-wide systemic issues, heightened inspection standards, and improved resident quality of life and safety.”

– Sam Peck
Executive Director, Family Councils Ontario

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