It’s a great honour to have completed my first full year as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority. I am proud of the work our board and RHRA staff have carried out to protect the safety and well-being of more than 50,000 men and women living in more than 700 retirement homes across Ontario.
One of our key focuses over the past year was providing feedback and support on next steps on the five-year legislative review of the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 being carried out by the Ministry of Seniors Affairs. I commend Minister Dipika Damerla and Ministry staff for their ongoing work and commitment to enhance the already robust Act.
As part of the public consultation process, the RHRA made a submission to government that included advice and recommendations aimed at strengthening resident safety and consumer protection. We continue to assist the Ministry during the review process by providing advice and data to support informed decision-making.
We also worked with CEO Bonnie Rose, and senior staff, to develop a new Strategic Plan that promises to stand with the RHRA, Ontario seniors and their families in good stead for the next five years. Following a comprehensive and inclusive planning process, I am looking forward to seeing the new plan being rolled out over the coming years. Not only does the plan affirm our core business and approach, but it also sets out a framework for greater stakeholder engagement and preparation for the future.
We worked closely with our dedicated Stakeholder Advisory Council throughout the year. Our board is grateful to members of the council for their sage advice and input on a range of matters, which have greatly benefitted the RHRA, licensees and residents.
We’ve seen significant improvements in the living conditions for many seniors over the past several years since the sector became regulated. That’s what drives each of us on the board.
We’re committed to working with all of our stakeholders during the year ahead to make even more progress so that all residents of retirement homes across the province have choice and the protection they need to live with confidence and dignity.
Message from the CEO and Registrar
I am very proud of our accomplishments this past fiscal year, which marked my first full year as Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of the RHRA. With the input of our board, staff, residents and families, we accomplished a great deal to ensure Ontarians have the choice and protection they need to live with confidence and dignity in retirement homes.
In particular, we can celebrate several highlights, such as:
- Building our communications capacity and outreach. We made progress on multiple fronts to fulfill our mission to inform, educate and engage residents, families, partners and stakeholders. We developed a strategic communications plan to frame our outreach and added new staff to help execute the plan. In addition to regulatory collaboration with partners such as the Ministry of Labour, Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, and local fire departments, we provided counsel to the Government of Ontario as it moves forward with next steps coming out of the legislative review of the Retirement Homes Act, 2010, which was done in 2015.
- Enhancing automation of key processes. By increasing automation of key processes — such as extra expense insurance and invoicing — we aim to make our operations more efficient, allowing us to focus resources where they are needed most.
- Creating a risk framework. We improved our risk identification framework based on best practices and the work of leading experts on regulation.
- Developing Strategic Plan 2022. We conducted an extensive environmental scan and engagement process to inform our new five-year Strategic Plan. The plan moves the RHRA towards an evidence- based risk-managed approach to compliance. This includes making data-driven decisions, as well as putting more emphasis on education and other activities to support compliance and enable operators to meet standards.
Among priorities for the year ahead, we will continue putting a crucial piece of the Strategic Plan into action. Our new inspection, compliance and enforcement approach is a fundamental shift in how we are regulating and supporting homes. I am confident this new initiative will help directly support the maximization of voluntary compliance.
My sincere thanks to all who support the RHRA — our board, the Minister and Ministry of Seniors Affairs, staff, community partners, stakeholders and the operators of more than 700 retirement homes — as we work to safeguard residents and improve their lives.