Premier John Horgan has said that Vulnerable people will be safer because of improvements to the Community Care and Assisted Living Act.
“Whether people are choosing child care, a residential-care facility for an elder, or a recovery home for those they love, they need information to make the best care choices,” said Premier Horgan. “These changes to the law will give families the ability to make more informed decisions about who will care for the ones they love.”
The Community Care and Assisted Living Act regulates the licensing of community-care facilities, including child-care and residential-care facilities, which offer assistance for seniors, those with developmental disabilities, mental-health and substance-use disorders, and brain injuries.
The act also oversees registration of assisted living residences, such as homes for adults, which offer some support with day-to-day needs, while allowing people to retain their independence.
“These legislative changes create transparency for individuals and facility operators, and make sure consistent information is available so families can easily check to see if a facility or residence is operated legally, and whether there have been any substantiated complaints about the care they provide,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Information on care facilities can be difficult to find, and a family may not know if there have been any substantiated investigations or complaints about the location or operator. In addition, there is no information posted about unlawfully operating facilities.
The amendments will make sure that information on all these facilities is posted at an easily accessible location online, and that information is consistent throughout all regions of the province. Information available will include summaries of inspection reports, as well as summaries of substantiated complaints.
The name of the operator, the name of the facility and the addresses of the facility will be posted, unless doing so would be a health and safety risk for the people in care.
“Child care should be a place where our kids grow and learn and thrive, and the foundation of that has to be safety,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “As a mom and a granny, I understand how important it is for families to know their child is being cared for in a place that is properly run and legally operated.”
For child-care providers, summaries of substantiated complaints and inspection reports will be posted for five years for both licensed facilities and facilities operating unlawfully. Currently, only high-level summaries of inspection reports for licensed facilities are posted.
High-level, substantiated complaint summaries are available at this time only for licensed seniors’ long-term care facilities. By policy, these are posted for a period of only two years.
For all residential-care facilities, both licensed and those operating unlawfully, summaries of substantiated complaints and inspection reports will be posted for five years for both licensed facilities and those operating unlawfully. High-level summaries of substantiated complaints reports are currently also posted by policy for two years for assisted-living facilities.
Under the amendments, they will be available for five years by law. Inspection reports will also be accessible for the same timeframe.
As part of the Province’s child-care initiative, an additional $2.09 million has been added to the Ministry of Health’s budget to boost the number of health authority licensing officers. These officers inspect and monitor care facilities, such as child-care places.
Information on child-care and residential-care facilities will be located on health authority websites. Information on assisted living facilities will be located on the Assisted Living Registry website. The revised websites with the new information are anticipated to be up and running by fall 2018.