The 2010 Retirement Homes Act

The 2010 Retirement Homes Act

The Retirement Homes Act was passed by the government of Ontario in 2010. Its fundamental principle is that retirement homes are to be operated as places where residents live with dignity, respect, privacy and autonomy, in safety, security, and comfort and can make informed choices about their care options. In practice, this has increased the accountability of seniors’ homes and provided greater recourse to seniors who feel that their rights have been violated.

The act contains three major changes:

1. Creates a regulatory authority with the power to:

  • License homes
  • Conduct inspections, investigations and enforcement
  • Issue financial penalties or revoking licenses if necessary

2. Establishes new standards:

  • Mandatory care and safety standards
  • Emergency plans
  • Infection control and prevention programs
  • Assessment of care needs and care planning
  • Police background checks and training for staff

3. Establishes residents’ rights such as:

  • The right to know the true cost of care and accommodation
  • The right to love in an environment that promotes zero tolerance of abuse or neglect

The Act has also stipulated many new measurements to ensure that complaints in the home are addressed to protect residents, including:

1. Increasing the availability of a help hotline, the Complaints Response and Information Service, by more than 100 per cent, with hours from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

2. Making it mandatory to report any suspected harm or risk of harm to the Registrar of the Authority

3. Obligating the Registrar to order an immediate inspection of a home, following any reports of abuse and neglect

4. Requiring all retirement home operators to post a sign with the CRIS help number in a highly visible and easily accessible location


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