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Dozens of Ontario long-term care homes still don’t have air conditioning a month after provincial deadline

Long term care home

Legislation passed last year required Ontario long-term care homes to provide air-conditioning in all resident bedrooms by June 22, 2022.

But 15 per cent of homes have missed the deadline, which passed almost a month ago.

A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term Care says while it was the government’s expectation that all of the province’s long-term care homes have air conditioning operating in resident rooms by June 22, 2022, 90 homes are still lagging behind.

As of July 19, the ministry reports that 537 of 627 homes are “fully air-conditioned,” including in each resident room,and for the remainder that aren’t: all long-term care homes have designated ‘cooling areas‘ for residents.

Some homes have units where the temperature can be controlled by the resident in their room or suite, and others have central-air, which is controlled in zones around the home.

Ministry spokesperson Mark Nesbitt told CP24 that homes which have experienced delays in installing air conditioning in resident rooms must “get up to standard as soon as feasible.”

When asked about the reason for the delay, Nesbitt noted that “global supply chain issues” are impacting air conditioning unit delivery timelines. In some cases, visitor restrictions are preventing contractors from entering homes due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Also, “complex structural challenges, have contributed to delays.”

Of the current list of homes that are not fully air-conditioned, 57 are for-profit, 25 are non-profit and eight are municipally-operated.

The Ontario Long Term Care Association, citing a 2020 provincial report, notes 58 per cent of homes are privately owned, 24 per cent are non-profit/charitable, and 16 per cent are municipally-owned. Approximately 300 of the province's long-term care homes are older and need to be redeveloped, representing more than 30,000 beds.

The Ministry notes home operators also need to ensure a home’s heat-related illness prevention and management plan is developed in accordance with regulatory requirements. Processes must be in place to protect residents from heat-related illness.

Families concerned about air-conditioning in their loved one’s home, or in a prospective home, can find information through the Ministry’s homefinder tool. The tool includes information on whether a home has air conditioning provided to all resident rooms, under the “Available at This Home” heading.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford promised in July 2020 to make air conditioning mandatory in long-term care homes. The promise came a month after Ford slammed owners of long-term care, saying he would “like to stick them in the rooms for 24 hours at 30 degree heat and see how they like it.” Top Stories

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