COVID-19: Ontario to Ease Restrictions on Visitation in Long-term Care and other Supported Residential Settings

This afternoon, the Ontario government announced the gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings.

According to a government of Ontario news release, family and friends will be allowed access to these settings beginning June 18, 2020.   While the details of the restrictions and requirements for visitation to resume have yet to be released the government has indicated that:

  • Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum.
  • Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Other residential care settings (which includes group homes and other supported residential settings for people with disabilities) will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time.

The government is clear that physical distancing will be required for all visits.

New visitor guidelines released today will take effect and visits will resume one (1) week today subject to those guidelines.  These guidelines will include, among other things:

    •  requiring visitors to pass active screening every time they visit,
    • confirming with staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks, and
    • complying with the infection prevention and control protocols, including bringing and wearing a face covering during visits.

Additionally, long-term care and retirement homes, as well as other residential care settings, must meet the following conditions before they welcome visitors:

      • Homes must not be in outbreak;
      • Homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and
      • Homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.

For retirement homes, visitor admissions will vary from home to home depending upon their individual circumstances.  Other residential care settings will also be allowed visitors under similar rules. These residential care settings include homes serving people with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence, and children’s residential settings.

For the full text of guidance on visitation in various settings see the links below:

As always, PooranLaw will continue to monitor developments related to restrictions on congregate care support providers and provide updates here.  In the meantime, if you require legal assistance, we encourage you to reach out to your regular PooranLaw lawyer, or any member of our team.

Note: This article provides general information only and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or opinion. PooranLaw Professional Corporation holds the copyright to this article and the article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of PooranLaw Professional Corporation.