Ontario will be extending two pockets of funding that were previously on the chopping block, long-term care minister Merrilee Fullerton confirmed on Friday — during which time the province will aim to develop newer programs to take their place.
The two funding envelopes — known as the High Wage Transition Fund and Structural Compliance Fund — were originally supposed to wind down after July 31, as part of the Ford government’s planned modernization of the long-term care sector. But the government’s plan sparked backlash and concern from both the long-term care sector and municipal governments in Ontario, with many reporting the change would result in budget gaps.
Per the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the two funds were helping pay for staff wages and “keep long-term care homes up to modern standards.” (The Ministry told iPolitics that its review of the funds confirmed the High Wage Transition Fund was being used to supplement staff wages, and the Structural Compliance Premium Fund was being used for capital repairs.)
Facing public backlash, Fullerton — who became Minister of Long-Term Care in June — announced that they would postpone the changes until Oct. 1. Since then, municipalities have been awaiting the outcome of their review; Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson disclosed to iPolitics last month that, during a closed-door meeting with Premier Doug Ford at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference, Ford agreed that cuts should not be made in long-term care.