Starting next month, "How’s the food here?" is just one of the questions residents of senior’s homes will be asked across the province. But Monday night, some members of council were wondering what those questions, and the new legislation they’re part of, is going to cost the city.
Effective July 1, the Long Term Care Homes Legislation and Compliance Transformation will be implemented at long term care facilities across Ontario. Pioneer Ridge administrator Cindy Jarvela explained to council Monday night that the legislation, while complex and very specific, is necessary. With over 200 section and 300 provisions, Jarvela told council that the legislation provides regulations for everything from inspections to house-keeping. Jarvela said the legislation will allow for a more objective view of how city homes for the aged are doing than in the past.
"We embrace this we’ve been looking for this for many many years," said Jarvela. ""There’s been inconsistencies across the province."
Council had to approve the implementing and complying with the legislation Monday at the risk of losing provincial funding for the cities three homes. With a $30 million provincial commitment Ontario-wide, $21.7 million of that earmarked to offset the cost of the legislation, some councillors were concerned about where the remaining money would come from.
"30 million to me seems like a drop in the bucket," Pullia said. "I mean when they’re spending 8 billion on the green energy act."
Coun. Joe Viridiramo agreed saying he wasn’t comfortable with legislation that has so many uncertainties.
"We’re kind of behind the eight ball here with ‘sign it or else’" said Viridiramo.
Community Services manager Greg Alexander said he received the papers to sign for the legislation last Thursday. The legislation has been controversial right across the province it's been chagned significantly several times he said. The one-time funding may only be enough to cover one new staff member he said. The largest cost will be educating staff, residents and their family members on the new legislation Alexander added.
"It’s a very big question right across the province at the moment," Alexander said. "
As far as inspection goes, Alexander said there are many uncertainties at the moment.
"It’s going to be very interesting to see how the compliance inspection teams deal with our d listed homes," Alexander said. "That’s my major concern what will that new inspection team be like and what will they be expecting from us."
Inspections of homes would be done in up to two stages. A provincially designated team would inspect the home and ask residents staff and family member a series of questions. Based on those questions, the team would determine if a second more detailed inspection was necessary. Any infractions could serve the home with a $50 to $1,000 fine. Jarvela said the legislation is heavily based on the rights of residents. Council has asked administration to provide with an update on cost and implementation.