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Ontario Protecting Vulnerable Seniors

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Ontario Protecting Vulnerable Seniors

McGuinty Government Taking Steps To License Retirement Homes

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility

Ontario is taking strong action to protect its most vulnerable seniors living in retirement homes and ensure families have peace of mind that their loved ones are able to live with dignity and respect.

Starting this week, the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority requires all retirement homes to apply for a licence in order to operate in Ontario.  Greater protections for seniors will include:

  • A Residents' Bill of Rights, which must be posted in every licensed retirement home
  • Retirement home operators' duty to protect residents from abuse and neglect
  • Staff training on abuse, fire prevention and safety and whistle blowing protections

All licence applications must be submitted by July 3, 2012.  In order to allow retirement homes time to comply with the new regulations, further protections for seniors will come into force in phases up to January 1, 2014.

Providing strong protections for seniors living in retirement homes is part of the McGuinty government's commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable.

Quick Facts

  • A retirement home is a residential complex or part of a residential complex:
    • occupied primarily by persons 65 years of age or older;
    • occupied, or intended to be occupied, by at least six people not related to the operator; and
    • where at least two care services are made available to the residents by the operator.
  • Approximately 40,000 Ontario seniors choose to live and obtain care in an estimated 700 retirement homes.
  • The Retirement Homes Act is the first legislation in Ontario's history to provide strong protections for seniors choosing to live in retirement homes.
  • The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority was established under the Retirement Homes Act to administer the legislation and regulations.

Additional Resources


“Our seniors, who worked hard all their lives to make Ontario the great place it is today, have earned the right to be treated with dignity and respect in their retirement homes. It's our duty to make sure they are safe and comfortable, and I'm pleased that these are significant steps in that direction.”

Linda Jeffrey

Minister Responsible for Seniors

“We are extremely pleased with government's announcement today and are ready to move forward quickly with licensing Ontario retirement homes for the first time and take steps to help protect seniors and improve care standards across the province. We will contact all retirement homes that we know of in the next week to advise them of requirements and how to apply for a licence. We will also post this information on our website.”

Mary Catherine Lindberg

Board Chair, Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority

“ORCA is excited about the future of the Retirement Home sector in Ontario. We have supported consumer protection legislation for many years and we are pleased to have worked with government to ensure that consistent safety standards exist for all retirement homes across the province.”

Laurie Johnston

CEO, Ontario Retirement Communities Association

“Ontario's seniors deserve safe, secure and quality care, wherever they live. We applaud the government's move to license retirement homes and ensure appropriate protections are in place for seniors living in these settings.”

Donna Rubin

CEO, Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors

Media Contacts



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