Media Release: Over 37,000 nurses and personal support workers must be hired by 2024  to meet Ontario’s long-term care commitments

POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE                                                                    

[La version française suit le texte anglais.]


TORONTO, May 26, 2021 - Today, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released its review of the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s spending plan from the 2021 Ontario Budget and the 2021-22 Expenditure Estimates. The FAO’s report provides a financial overview of the ministry and examines key financial issues.

The FAO reviewed the ministry’s programs and commitments and projects that long-term care spending will increase from $4.4 billion in 2019-20 to $10.6 billion by 2029-30, for an average annual growth rate of 9.3 per cent. The relatively high spending growth rate is due to two significant commitments made by the Province: to build 30,000 new and redeveloped long-term care beds over 10 years, and to increase the average daily direct care hours provided to long-term care residents by nurses and personal support workers from 2.75 hours per day to four hours per day by 2024-25. By 2029-30, these two commitments will increase long-term care spending by $5.0 billion annually.

The Province’s commitment to build 30,000 new long-term care beds by 2028-29 builds on a previous commitment to build 15,000 new long-term care beds by 2023-24. As of March 2021, the Province has allocated 20,161 new long-term care beds and the FAO projects that most of these beds will come into service between 2023 and 2025. The FAO estimates that the remaining beds must be allocated by March 2026 in order for the Province to achieve its goal of having all 30,000 new beds in service by the end of the 2028-29 fiscal year.

The Province also continues to address the 31,266 long-term care beds in Ontario that are not built to modern design standards, most of which have licences that are either expired or expire in 2025. The FAO estimates that 30,701 of these beds must be redeveloped by 2028-29 to receive new licences and continue to operate. To date, the Province has allocated 15,918 beds for redevelopment, leaving an estimated 14,783 beds with no redevelopment plan. The FAO spending projection assumes that these beds will be redeveloped to maintain the Province’s existing stock of long-term care beds. However, the ministry has said that redevelopment will depend on funding availability, putting the Province’s supply of long-term care beds at risk.

The FAO estimates that 17,000 personal support workers and 12,200 nurses (registered nurses and registered practical nurses), for a total of 29,200 full-time equivalent positions, will need to be hired by 2024-25 to provide an average of four hours of daily direct care to long-term care residents. However, when the number of new staff required to support the new long-term care beds is included, the FAO estimates that over 37,000 nurses and personal support workers will need to be hired by 2024-25 for the Province to meet its long-term care commitments.

To learn more, read the full report here.

Quick facts:

  • The FAO projects that the Province will not reach 15,000 new long-term care beds until 2025-26, two years behind its 2019 Ontario Budget commitment.
  • If achieved, 30,000 new long-term care beds by 2028-29 would represent a significant increase in the number of new beds compared to the prior 10-year period. From 2009-10 to 2018-19, the number of long-term care beds increased by 1,900.
  • The FAO projects that the number of Ontarians aged 75 and over will increase by 52 per cent from 2018-19 to 2029-30, while the number of long-term care beds will increase by 38 per cent.
    • This indicates that the Province’s plan to add 30,000 beds by 2028-29 will likely not be sufficient to keep pace with the growing demand for long-term care from Ontario’s growing and aging population.
  • In the 2019 Ontario Budget, the Province committed to redevelop 15,000 older long-term care beds by 2023-24. The FAO projects that the Province will not reach 15,000 redeveloped beds until 2025-26. 
  • The Auditor General of Ontario found that almost two-thirds of the long-term care homes with the most severe outbreaks during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had older bedroom designs.
  • As of March 2021, over 7,400 long-term care beds were temporarily not in service due to public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ongoing infection prevention and control measures means that many of these beds will continue to be unavailable and some beds may be prevented from reopening entirely.
  • In July 2020, the Province introduced a new long-term care development funding policy to improve uptake by the LTC sector to build and redevelop long-term care beds. The FAO estimates that this new policy will increase:
    • the maximum provincial construction funding subsidy by 41 per cent, from $164,000 ($2021) to $232,000 ($2021) per bed; and
    • Ministry of Long-Term Care spending by $2.5 billion through 2029-30.

About the FAO

Established by the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) provides independent analysis on the state of the Province’s finances, trends in the provincial economy and related matters important to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter at


For further information, please contact:
Anna Giannini  l  647.527.2385  l  |