Gateway Gazette

Strong Protection for Vulnerable Seniors

A provincial investment of more than $170 million will help keep residents and staff in long-term care, designated supportive living facilities and seniors lodges safe from COVID-19.

One of the key conditions for Alberta’s relaunch is strong protection for the most vulnerable, including those in congregate living facilities.

Funding will be used for enhanced staffing and extra cleaning supplies and will address lost accommodation revenue.

“We know from our experience over the past few months that seniors are most at risk from COVID-19. If our province is to carefully and gradually lift public health restrictions, we must first make sure our most vulnerable will remain safe. This funding is another step in that direction and complements ongoing efforts.”Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Our government is strengthening our ring of defence around Alberta’s seniors. The funding we are putting into place for seniors lodges to assist with costs arising from COVID-19 protective measures, will help protect seniors housing providers from financial pressures and will help our seniors to remain safe at home.”Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing

“We know from our many conversations with continuing care operators that they are struggling to meet the challenges of this unprecedented pandemic. Operators are facing rising costs to maintain operations, comply with provincial health orders and keep Albertans safe. In places where outbreaks have occurred, added precautions to respond to COVID-19 have increased operators’ incremental costs and they have no way to raise revenues to cover them.”Jennifer McCue, board chair, Alberta Continuing Care Association

A total of $14.2 million will be allocated per month. Funding is retroactive to March 15. There will be a requirement to report on the use of these funds, and facilities will need to return money not spent on COVID-related purposes.

Funding will continue until the orders from Alberta’s chief medical officer of health are lifted. It will be distributed in coordination with Alberta Health Services and Seniors and Housing.

This funding is one element of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy that must be in place before Alberta can safely remove public health restrictions. For more information, visit alberta.ca/COVID19.

Quick facts

  • Seniors lodges, designated supportive living, and long-term care serve about 37,000 people at any point in time.
  • Designated supportive living and long-term care facilities have already received advanced funding of $24.5 million, as well as funding to increase health-care aide staffing levels and wages.

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