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Amendments to Long-Term Care Regulations Seek to Ease Staffing Requirements During Pandemics

Written by Michelle Roth, Andrew Schipper, Michael Wilson. This Update was originally published on


On March 20, 2020, amendments to Regulation 79/10 under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (the “Act”) came into force, easing certain requirements in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The regulatory amendments streamline current staffing and training procedures in long-term care homes and alleviate homes from certain requirements for the duration of a pandemic. The Amendments Securing Alternative Nursing Care Support Where a registered nurse is prevented from getting to a home in the case of a pandemic, the home may fulfill its legislative and regulatory requirements to provide nursing care by securing the services of:

  • another registered nurse, including a nurse arranged through a third-party contract;

  • a registered practical nurse, including a nurse arranged through a third-party contract, so long as the Director of Nursing and Personal Care or a registered nurse is available for consultation; or

  • a staff member of the home possessing the skills to allow him or her to provide care to a resident, so long as the Director of Nursing and Personal Care or a registered nurse is available for consultation. The staff member must be a member of a regulated health profession.

Director of Nursing and Personal Care Requirements The requirement that a Director of Nursing and Personal Care works a full-time position as well as the requirements mandating the Director of Nursing and Personal Care be on-site for a minimum number of hours per week (4-35 hours depending on licensed bed capacity), will not apply during a pandemic. Police Record Checks for New Staff and Volunteers New staff and volunteers are not required to provide a police record check during a pandemic. Instead, any new employee or volunteer must provide a historical police record check and sign a declaration confirming that he or she has not been charged or convicted under certain statutes, including the Cannabis Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Food and Drugs Act, since the date of the historical police record check. If the historical police record check is unavailable, a declaration confirming the employee or volunteer has not been charged is sufficient. Note that once hired or accepted, staff members and volunteers have a continuing obligation to promptly advise the licensee if they have been made aware of any charges laid or orders made against them. In the case of a charge, the staff member or volunteer must advise the licensee whether they have been convicted or if the charge is otherwise disposed of. Revised Training Timelines During a pandemic, employees are not required to complete training before they commence employment. Instead, they must complete training within the following timelines: Within one week of beginning employment:

  1. the Residents’ Bill of Rights;

  2. the long-term care home’s policy to promote zero tolerance of abuse and neglect of residents

  3. the duty under section 24 of the Act to make mandatory reports;

  4. fire prevention and safety;

  5. emergency and evacuation procedures; and

  6. infection prevention and control.

Within three months of beginning employment:

  1. the long-term care home’s mission statement;

  2. the protections afforded by section 26 of the Act;

  3. the long-term care home’s policy to minimize the restraining of residents;

  4. all Acts, regulations, policies of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and similar documents, including policies of the licensee, that are relevant to the person’s responsibilities; and

  5. any other areas provided for in the regulations.

Looking Forward

The Goodmans Health Care Law Group will continue to monitor legislative and regulatory developments and assist our clients to navigate the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. For further information related to the amendments or other health care law issues, please contact the chair of our Aging & Healthcare division, Michelle Roth, or any member of our Health Care Law Group.


This Update is intended as a general summary for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice with respect to any particular set of circumstances. If you require advice as to your circumstances, please contact any member of our Health Care Law Group.

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