2022 Fee Consultation – Feedback Themes
The RHRA thanks all participants in its 2022 Fee Consultation. The consultation was held from August 30 – September 30, 2021. In total, RHRA received 433 responses broken down as follows:
|Licensed Retirement Homes||268|
|Associations, Advocacy Organizations and Other||6|
Submissions to the consultation have been summarized into the themes below and were shared with RHRA’s Board of Directors for consideration in the fee setting process. The RHRA Board of Directors has approved an update to its fee schedule for 2022 with an adjustment to the annual rate which will now be $11.00 per suite per month, with all other fees remaining unchanged.
Opposed to the proposed fee increase:
- The proposed RHRA fee increase will negatively affect affordability of retirement homes and discourage people from choosing retirement homes as an option; residents will ultimately pay for the increase
- Impact on quality of care. Increased RHRA fees will not increase quality of care or staffing and quality of life of residents. Homes will have to decrease staffing levels and care services to fulfill this fee increase
- There is duplication of work among RHRA and other regulators
- RHRA isn’t sufficiently transparent with its financial position to enable stakeholders to determine if a fee increase is reasonable/necessary. RHRA should undergo a third-party review of RHRA’s finances to find efficiencies; defer or cancel unnecessary projects. RHRA should communicate and consult more on fees with residents.
- This increase comes at a difficult time for retirement homes due to reduced occupancy rates and will lead to increased stress for residents.
Agree with proposed fee increase:
- Resident protection. Fee increases are necessary for an effective regulator to protect vulnerable seniors at a time when retirement homes may need to cut corners due to financial strain.
- Those who agreed noted it should not come at this time and/or not all at once.
RHRA Response to Consultation Feedback
The RHRA Board of Directors has approved an update to its fee schedule for 2022 with an adjustment of $0.91 to the annual rate resulting in a fee of $11.00 per suite per month, with all other fees remaining unchanged. The RHRA did not increase fees for 2021, and with a 1% increase in 2020, it had increased fees below the rate of inflation.
The Board considered several factors in arriving at this amount including best available information on sector context, stakeholder feedback, changes in financial forecasts due to government funding, RHRA’s operational requirements, feedback from the Minster for Seniors and Accessibility and the announcement of an independent operational review.
The pandemic’s effects on the sector and RHRA have continued longer than anticipated when completing the original business planning and budgeting. Although the retirement homes sector has been stabilizing with respect to number of Covid outbreaks, the Covid-related requirements on homes and the need remains for RHRA to continue to ensure these requirements are met to protect residents. The sector’s recovery from an occupancy perspective appears to be extended beyond previous expectations.
Stakeholders told RHRA that many homes currently pass regulatory fees directly on to residents, and that they will subsequently pass any increase directly on to residents. At less than one dollar per month per suite, this adjustment addresses concerns about affordability in the short term in advance of the longer-term solutions that will be considered as part of any operational review. Taking this approach allows more time for the sector to recover from the effects of the pandemic, and addresses concerns raised through the consultations about the timing of a more substantive increase. RHRA will review and adjust business plans to mitigate this impact on residents and ensure RHRA continues to protect residents.
Fulfilling RHRA’s mandate to oversee sector compliance with The Retirement Homes Act, 2010, along with fulfilling the recommendations in the Auditor General’s report, are the key drivers of RHRA’s planned activities. By moderating its plans, the RHRA will reduce its expenditures in the current year from its originally budgeted amounts and continue with comparable levels of restraint in its initial planning for FY2022-23. Although moderating the organization’s plans in this way affects the degree to which it can execute on its mandate, the Board, in making its decision, considered the current circumstances and the upcoming operational review.
Stakeholders noted that one of their main concerns is staffing levels at retirement homes and that any fees that aren’t going toward investing and retaining staff do not contribute to resident quality of life. While RHRA fees do not increase the number of staff in retirement homes, RHRA’s effective oversight of a retirement home’s compliance with the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 is designed to hold homes accountable for maintaining a standard of care and quality of life for residents. Licensees must meet the standards in the Act that apply to the care services the home offers to residents, among other requirements. Licensees must also meet safety standards to protect residents generally.
We have heard feedback from residents that they need to hear more about RHRA and what RHRA does, and RHRA will undertake to engage directly with residents. RHRA is committed to working with licensees and the public to provide information about who RHRA is, what we do and our accountability to be effective and responsible stewards of the fees we collect and overall public value we deliver. We will work toward finding more effective and formal ways to build this relationship with residents and help them develop an understanding of the connection between oversight and the standard of care residents are entitled to by law in retirement homes.
The Board welcomes the independent third-party review announced by the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility and will engage fully in ensuring all stakeholders understand and have confidence in the value of the RHRA’s activity, the responsible stewardship of funds collected to enable oversight of the sector and that the organization is resourced appropriately in the years ahead.
RHRA is committed to transparency around its operations and financial position. Once reviewed by the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, RHRA publishes its strategic plan, business plan, including financial forecasts, and audited financial reports as part of its Annual Report on its website. These are all available publicly at any time and date back to the organization’s inception in 2011.
RHRA thanks all stakeholder for their valuable insight and advice. Should you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Consultation
RHRA’s consultation on its proposed fee change is now closed.
RHRA is proposing a fee increase in 2022. The experience of residents and families during the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that RHRA must adapt its operations to be able to continue to protect residents’ safety and well-being. The activities needed to do this have increased significantly during the pandemic and are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Retirement home residents are entitled by law to feel and be safe in their home. In response to the needs of residents, increasing requests and expectations of residents, RHRA must have the ability to oversee the protections to which residents are entitled.
Feedback received during the consultation will be considered by RHRA in making a final decision regarding these fees.
Consultation opened for comment: August 31, 2021
Consultation closed: September 30, 2021
Proposed effective date of fee adjustments: January 4, 2022
Please review the fee change and the rationale for these changes in the PowerPoint presentation below.
RHRA sincerely thanks all of the stakeholders that provided comments, including residents, families and licensees/operators.
RHRA is now reviewing the feedback. Please be assured that RHRA will carefully consider all feedback received before the RHRA Board of Directors makes a final decision on how to proceed with any proposed fee changes. A decision is expected in mid-October.