RENFREW COUNTY (Pembroke) — On September 20, the Honourable Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, announced that after consulting with stakeholders, Ontario is extending the High Wage Transition Fund and the Structural Compliance Fund while it works on developing new programs to improve how long-term care is delivered in Ontario.
The County of Renfrew is thrilled to learn that the Province is extending long-term care funding of the High Wage Transition Fund and the Structural Compliance Fund while it comes up with more comprehensive solutions. Warden Jennifer Murphy and Chair of the Health Committee Michael Donohue led a delegation, along with Chief Administrative Officer Paul Moreau and Shelley Sheedy, Director of Long-Term Care, with Minister Fullerton at the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference where this message was effectively conveyed.
“We met with the Minister of Long-Term Care at AMO to discuss these funds. I was at Alonguin College, Woodroffe Campus speaking series this morning [September 20] and what I heard today demonstrates that Minister Fullerton has listened and responded; we are most appreciative,” said Michael Donohue, Chair of the County of Renfrew Health Committee and the Provincial Modernization Ad Hoc Committee.
The High Wage Transition Fund (HWTF) was introduced on April 1, 1996, as a three-year temporary transition measure to assist operators to maintain equitable service levels, while higher than average wage costs were addressed. Bonnechere Manor and Miramichi Lodge both staff a higher than funded staffing levels and relied on this funding – $92,773 annually at Bonnechere Manor and $75,780 at Miramichi Lodge, to do so. The Structural Compliance Premium (SCP) was introduced on April 1, 1998, to allow the Ministry of Long-Term Care to pay long-term care home operators, who were not eligible at the time to receive other financial assistance from the ministry, so that they could upgrade their homes; this fund was only applicable to Bonnechere Manor which is 24 years old and requiring costly capital replacements such as the roof. The Home used $197,100 annually in 2018 for such capital replacements.
“We look forward to further engaging with Minister Fullerton as consultations roll-out across the Province,” expressed Jennifer Murphy, Warden of the County of Renfrew.
The government will be extending the Structural Compliance Premium to March 31, 2020, while it launches consultations this Fall on what a new minor capital program could look like. The government is also extending the High Wage Transition Fund to December 31, 2020, as it develops a long-term care staffing strategy.