News Release
April 16, 2020

COVID-19 has been particularly virulent with elders in our community, especially in long-term care home settings. Despite best efforts and proven measures to contain outbreaks, this virus has had a devastating impact on those who work and reside in long-term care homes, nursing homes and other institutions where our most vulnerable receive care.

The City of Toronto operates just 10 of the more than 80 long-term care homes in Toronto.
In mid-March, the City of Toronto’s Seniors Services and Long-Term Care (SSLTC) division, which cares for approximately 2,600 residents, began asking staff to choose the City as their primary employer in order to limit work locations and, therefore, minimize COVID-19 exposure for both themselves and residents.

In the long-term care sector, workers sometimes work in multiple locations, including other long-term care homes, as well as acute care and community care settings. SSLTC employs approximately 1,300 full-time and 2,200 part-time staff.

On Tuesday, recognizing that this sector-wide challenge required additional measures, an order was issued by the Province of Ontario restricting long-term care staff from working in more than one long-term care home, retirement home or health care setting effective 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

To assist staff in their decision to work for City long-term care homes, SSLTC has offered additional hours (up to full-time hours) for part-time staff, and posted an 18 week schedule. Today, SSLTC staff working in one of the 10 long-term care homes will be asked to confirm their decision to work solely for the City. For those unable to commit to the City, they will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence, for the length of the emergency order. Their position of employment remains secure following the end of the pandemic.

SSLTC has identified staffing shortages in all of its departments arising from staff illness, international travel and childcare needs. On March 14, SSLTC stopped all non-essential services and redirected resources to the essential long-term care operations, maximizing part-time frontline staff and using overtime to meet staffing needs during outbreaks. The City has also hired 50 nursing students and Personal Support Worker-certified individuals to support and backfill positions.

More than 80 City employees from across the organization have been redeployed to SSLTC, and another 80 will be starting soon, with additional staffing support requested from the Emergency Operations Centre.

The City of Toronto began measures when COVID-19 was first identified to protect staff and residents. To date, there are outbreaks in three of the 10 homes operated by the City.

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