Canadian and Ontario governments invest to improve long-term care homes

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A man takes a walk outside the Seven Oaks Long-Term Care Home in Toronto on Thursday, June 25, 2020. The Canadian and Ontario government are investing over $99.4 million in 95 projects to make long-term care homes within the province safer and more secure. (The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn)

The Canadian and Ontario governments are investing over $99.4 million in 95 projects to make long-term care homes within the province safer and more secure, according to an announcement by Infrastructure Canada on Friday.

In a press release, Infrastructure Canada said that the funding will go towards making important upgrades to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems as well as sprinkler systems in long-term care facilities in Ontario.

Infrastructure Canada added that the government of Canada is providing more than $79.5 million and the government of Ontario will fund over $19.8 million through the COVID-19 Resilience Stream, which is a fund that was created by the federal government for pandemic-related projects.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Canada’s most vulnerable populations,” Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of infrastructure and communities, said in a statement. “As we continue to battle this crisis, upgrading ventilation systems to ensure cleaner air in Ontario’s long-term care homes will be critical to the health and safety of residents and the people that care for them.”

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna holds a press conference in Ottawa. The investment by Canada and Ontario will go towards making important upgrades to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems as well as sprinkler systems in long-term care facilities within the province. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

Ontario’s long-term were hit hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020, Canadian soldiers sent to long-term care homes in Ontario reported some troubling observations, and an inquiry to see how the virus spread throughout long-term care homes was launched.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, investments in the health and wellness of Ontarians are more critical than ever,” said Ontario Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott. “Supporting air quality and other infrastructure projects in long-term care homes helps to protect our communities, making them stronger, healthier and safer. That is why Ontario is making this investment to protect our health and our economy.”