Important Public Advisories
The following information pertains to issues related to retirement homes reported in the news media. Always check to ensure a retirement home is licensed by the RHRA and review its inspection reports on the Retirement Home Database.
COVID-19 (coronavirus) Update
The RHRA is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and is ready to assist local health authorities and retirement home operators to ensure the health and safety of seniors living in Ontario retirement homes.
Please refer to our FAQs for residents and families for more information.
Chief Medical Officer’s Directives on Residents Leaving Retirement Homes
On March 23, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer issued a directive outlining new precautions and procedures for long-term care and retirement homes. The directive, to be implemented immediately, says that residents are no longer permitted to leave the home for short-stay absences to visit family and friends. Residents may go outside of the home but should remain on the home’s property and maintain a distance of a minimum of two metres from other people at all times.
As a result of recent amendments to the Retirement Homes Act regulation, retirement homes must take all reasonable steps to follow the required precautions and procedures outlined in the Chief Medical Officer’s directives for Long-Term Care Homes in Ontario.
Re-admission of Residents
Residents who are returning to the home from hospital, appointments or any other absence are required to be actively screened for COVID-19 as per the Chief Medical Officer of Health. If the resident fails the screening, they are to be placed in isolation in the retirement home and the home will contact the public health unit for further instructions.
Visitors to Retirement Homes
A reminder that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer has recommended that retirement homes and long-term care homes allow only essential visitors. In the context of retirement homes, essential visitors are defined as those who have a resident who is very ill or requires end-of-life care. These visitors must continue to be actively screened into these settings and are to be denied entry if they fail the screening.
No other visitors should be permitted to enter these premises, instead friends and family can keep in touch with loved ones by phone or other technologies, as available.
Davenhill Senior Living has ceased operating as a retirement home
After November 30, 2019, Davenhill Senior Living is not operating as a retirement home under the Retirement Homes Act. The RHRA understands that the closure of Davenhill Senior Living has been a stressful and challenging situation for residents and their families.
The RHRA confirms that the home has taken the steps required by law before ceasing to operate. This included:
- Providing notice to residents and substitute decision makers;
- Providing the RHRA with a comprehensive transition plan; and
- Taking reasonable steps to find appropriate alternate accommodations or to facilitate access to external care providers.
The Retirement Homes Act defines a retirement home as a building, group of buildings, or a part of a building (with one or more rental units) that is:
- Occupied primarily by persons who are 65 years of age or older;
- Occupied or intended to be occupied by at least six persons who are not related to the operator of the home; and
- Where the operator of the home makes at least two care services available (directly or indirectly) to residents.
All retirement homes in Ontario must be licenced by the RHRA. Learn more about the steps required to apply for a licence.
RHRA reviewing final report of the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System
The Commissioner of the Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry released her final report and recommendations on July 31, 2019. The report and recommendations are the result of a two-year inquiry into the events which led to the offences committed by Elizabeth Wettlaufer, and the circumstances and contributing factors allowing the offences to be committed.
At this time, the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) is reviewing the report. While related to long-term care homes, the RHRA will consider the report’s recommendations, as applicable and appropriate, as it carries out its mandate to ensure retirement home residents have the protection they need to live with confidence and dignity.
As we work towards continuously reducing the risk of harm to seniors in Ontario retirement homes, the RHRA welcomes a collaborative approach with government and sector stakeholders who have a shared goal of protecting the safety and wellbeing of residents in Ontario retirement homes.
We hope that the conclusion of this inquiry provides a sense of closure for the many people affected.
Operator for In Touch Retirement Home Living Convicted and Ordered to Vacate Home
On June 3, the operator of In Touch Retirement Living at 64 King Street in Toronto (Weston) was ordered by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to vacate and stop the operation of an illegal retirement home by June 7, 2019.
The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) is working with community partners to assist residents in finding alternative accommodation and care. The RHRA has also provided financial support through its Emergency Fund to help support residents during this transition.
The RHRA believes that the residents are at significant risk of harm and took this unprecedented action of applying to the court, to ensure the protection and wellbeing of all residents.
The operator of In Touch was previously convicted in 2015 for operating a retirement home without a licence and sentenced to 15 days in jail, in addition to a $2,500 fine. On January 24, 2019, the operator was convicted a second time for operating a home without a licence and breaching probation by continuing to operate. The Court has scheduled sentencing for June 10.
The RHRA has monitored this home since 2012 and has undertaken enforcement actions against the operator for continuing to operate a retirement home without a licence. The Registrar had previously issued a number of orders, including Administrative Monetary Penalties and an Order to Cease Operating.
To view further information, please search “In Touch Retirement Living” on the RHRA’s Public Register.
New requirements for automatic sprinklers in retirement homes
As of January 1, 2019, licensed retirement homes are required under the Ontario Fire Code to be equipped with automatic sprinklers or have approved alternative measures in place. The RHRA is committed to supporting fire safety measures and the efforts of local fire services and the Office of the Fire Marsal and Emergency Management to ensure retirement homes comply with this new requirement.
Local fire services, with support from the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, will assess homes’ compliance with the requirements and the RHRA will continue to collaborate closely with them. The RHRA provides information about a home’s sprinklers on the Public Register.