Recognizing the urgent need for the culturally sensitive Retirement Homes in Ontario, The Honourable Dipika Damerla, Ontario Minister of Seniors Affairs, has started public forums where she has invited those who are interested in developing these houses. Initially, they will be holding meetings in Markham, Scarborough, Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. The first meeting was held on June 01 in Markham and from OKA Ashok Bhatt, Suvarna and Sadanand Mankikar and Jayashree Pai attended this session. Close to 150 South Asians attended this meeting. In addition to Hon. Damerla, Hon Michele Chan, Minister of International Trade and Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services were in attendance, the later by Teleconference. Hon. Marie-Lison Fougère, Deputy Minister of Accessibility, Francophone Affairs and Seniors Affairs welcomed the attendees.
The Ministry of Seniors’ Affairs do not own or manage Seniors’/Retirement Residences, they just regulate them. On the other hand, the Long Term Care Facilities are managed by the Ministry.
Representatives from the Seniors’ Affairs Ministry gave a brief overview of Retirement Homes Sector in Ontario and talked about the Retirement Homes Act (RHA) and Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA). They estimated that, across the province, approximately 58,000 seniors live in 733 Retirement Homes. In explaining Continuum of Care they indicated that level of care could include Community Services, Home Care, Retirement Homes, Long Term Care Homes, Domiciliary Hostels with housing support, Supportive Housing with Assisted Living Services and Boarding/Rooming Houses which facilitate congregated housing.
Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority establishes RHRA which is an arms length administrative authority to educate, licence and inspect retirement homes to ensure they meet prescribed standards. It is a self-funded, not for profit corporation accountable to government.
Representatives from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) estimated that by year 2038, over 24% of the population in Canada will be over 65 years old. They talked at length about Services and Amenities in a Retirement Homes; New and Emerging Trends in Seniors’ Housing; Accessible and Adaptable Design Concepts; Principles of Universal Design. In terms of building a Retirement Homes, they covered various relevant topics including: Project Planning, Securing Community Support, Securing Financing, Assembling the Project Team, Constructing the Project (Contacts, Insurance and Bonding). Clearly CMHC’s consultants and their website www.cmhc.ca can be of immense help for those who are contemplating building a Seniors’ Residence.
On the whole, it was a session filled with useful information. If you want to attend one of the future sessions, please let Sadanand Mankikar know as soon as possible.
(summary provided by Sadanand Mankikar)
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