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We need change now!

This pandemic has revealed many weaknesses in long-term care (LTC).

It has put the residents who live in LTC, their family members who love and support them, and the staff who work there at great risk.

Statement of Concerns

With the unfolding COVID-19 crisis in long-term care homes in our city and across the province and country, the Council on Aging of Ottawa (COA) is unwavering in its commitment to improving care in this sector.  Pre-existing and systemic vulnerabilities as well as values and attitudes towards seniors’ care have been laid bare by this pandemic.  This has happened despite extensive recommendations by experts, over many decades, for improvements in LTC. This includes specific recommendations for managing pandemics, for example in the 2006 report of the Ontario's SARS Commission. We need permanent improvements to LTC. This will require adequate funding and support for a vital service in this community. And we need it now!

The recent paper Long-Term Care in Ottawa: We Need Change Now! outlined the COA’s vision for LTC, identified four priorities for change, and highlighted measures for monitoring these needed changes. This Statement of Concerns focuses on changes needed right now to reduce the risks of COVID-19 to seniors living in Ottawa’s 28 LTC homes.

The COA is calling on the Ontario government to immediately address these five concerns:

Concern #1: Critical shortages of care staff
Concern #2: Inadequate infection prevention and control
Concern #3: Inadequate standards for physical environments
Concern #4: Weak communication with residents and family
Concern #5: Need for accountability and transparency

We are still in the early stages of this pandemic.  The COA will be monitoring developments over time. Sadly, seniors have borne the brunt of this pandemic in Canada and elsewhere. With proper care and planning for such emergencies, many of the deaths and illnesses could have been prevented. Our hearts go out to LTC residents, family members, and staff who have been impacted by this pandemic.  This must never happen again!

We need change now!

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We need permanent changes to LTC. This will require adequate funding and support for this vital community service.

Updates and Resources

LTC and COVID-19: Research and Media Articles

June 25, 2020

Organizational Reports/Research Articles Armstrong, Pat. (April 1, 2020). Viruses and Care, The Bullet. [Article]. Armstrong, Pat; Armstrong, Hugh; Choiniere, Jacqueline; Lowndes, […]

Concern #2: Inadequate infection prevention and control

June 24, 2020

Many LTC homes lack the capacity and resources to deal with serious public health emergencies, let alone one as significant […]

Concern #1: Critical shortages of care staff

June 9, 2020

The long-standing problem of a critical shortage of staff in LTC was exacerbated by the pandemic. Short-term measures have been […]

Media Coverage

June 5, 2020

Fixing Long-Term Care Thursday, May 28 See Diane Hupé, member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Health […]

Government of Ontario: Role in LTC and Response to COVID-19 in LTC

June 1, 2020

  Role of the Government of Ontario Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Long-term care homes (LTCH) are part of the […]

City of Ottawa: Role in LTC and Response to COVID-19 in LTC

May 25, 2020

Role in LTC Response to COVID-19 The City operates four long-term care homes: Carleton Lodge Centre d’accueil Champlain Garry J. […]

Government of Canada: Role in LTC and Response to COVID-19 in LTC

May 25, 2020

Health Canada is engaged in research and policy analysis on long-term facilities-based care issues including: population aging models of facilities-based […]

Family Resources and Decision Aids

May 25, 2020

General Resources   Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Long-Term Care Homes Family Councils Ontario Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils (OARC) […]

A Statement of Concerns: Infographic

May 15, 2020

A summary of the five changes needed right now to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to seniors living in Ottawa’s […]

Long-Term Care in Ottawa: Timeline

May 15, 2020

A quick glance of COA’s actions on long-term care. Download To read the COA’s Statement of Concerns, go to

Long-Term Care in Ottawa: Position Paper

April 30, 2020

The Council on Aging of Ottawa (COA) has always been committed to improving the well-being of seniors and age-friendly services […]

Long-Term Care in Ottawa

There are
LTC homes.
As of October 2019,
people were waiting for the 4,488 available beds.
The median wait time is
days in the Champlain region, while 146 days across the province.
As of November 2019,
people were waiting for PSW services in the community.
In Ottawa,
of the 28 homes are experimenting with person-centred care models.
Of the available beds,
do not met Ministry standards (31%).

The Ontario government needs to show leadership in making LTC changes a priority now.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

A personal letter to your elected official can be an effective tool for change.


  • When elected officials receive many letters on the same issue, they will pay more attention to it.
  • We encourage you to personalize the sample letter as much as possible.
  • No postage is required when you send a letter to an MP.
  • Emails are just as effective as a letter by post. They are handled by elected officials in the same way.
  • Keep a copy of the letter you sent. You can refer to it when you receive a response.
  • Follow up! Write back to you elected officials thanking them for their response. Remind them of your requests and any commitments they have made.
  • Share your letters with other individuals and organizations who are also calling for change in the sector:
    • Send COA a copy of your letter: 101-1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9;
    • Add COA to the cc line on your email:

Find your elected official

An independent review that focuses on transforming seniors’ care and commits more funding to this sector would be welcomed.

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The Council on Aging of Ottawa. © 2020.
All Rights Reserved.

The COA is funded in part by the Government of Ontario and the City of Ottawa.
The views expressed in this statement do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.