If passed, Bill 11, the Continuing Care Act will establish clear and consistent authority and oversight for licensing, accommodations and delivery of publicly funded health care in the continuing care system.
“This piece of contemporary legislation is all about improving the quality of life for Albertans who are in continuing care. It will strengthen accountability and transparency, and better coordinate and align care and services across the whole system. This is in addition to our historic investment of over $3.7 billion for continuing care and 1,515 new spaces opening this year.”
Alberta’s current legislation for the continuing care system falls under multiple acts and regulations, some dating back to 1985.
Continuing care has evolved and existing legislation does not effectively reflect current practices, services or settings, or address the changing needs and expectations of Albertans. The COVID-19 pandemic also revealed system gaps and inconsistencies in the current legislation.
Given this complexity, the government conducted a comprehensive review of Alberta’s facility-based continuing care system. Those findings and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic informed the proposed legislation.
What the proposed legislation will do
Having one overarching piece of legislation will provide consistency and alignment across the continuing care system. The proposed act will start a major, transformational change to existing policy and practice that includes:
- Replacing multiple acts with one piece of modern, streamlined legislation for continuing care.
- Improving transparency and accountability to Albertans regarding how the continuing care system is governed.
- Enabling a person-centred, flexible and innovative system of care for Albertans, now and in the future.
- Establishing a consistent approach and alignment of legislated requirements and services across the continuing care system.
- Addressing gaps in current legislation to provide greater authority to effectively monitor and enforce compliance to legislated requirements, including standards.
The act would set a consistent approach for the ministry to be able to inspect all continuing care services and settings to ensure compliance to the legislation, regulations or standards. Additionally, the act establishes a new authority to issue an administrative monetary penalty, which will be determined through regulations.
The Continuing Care Act is the first stage in the new legislative suite of tools. If passed, it will be followed by regulations and standards that will provide additional context and details. Once the full legislative framework is in place, implementation will begin as early as spring 2023. The act will come into force at that time and existing continuing care legislation will be repealed.
- Alberta’s current continuing care system offers a variety of health, personal services and accommodations to support the safety, independence and quality of life of Albertans. Publicly funded services include:
- home care, which can be short-term care or long term
- facility-based care, which includes designated supportive living and long-term care where health, personal care and support services are provided on site
- palliative and end-of-life care services
- In Budget 2022, government is providing almost $3.7 billion in operating funds across the continuing care system:
- $1.7 billion for community care, an increase of $122 million or 7.6 per cent from 2021-22
- $1.2 billion for continuing care, an increase of $16 million or 1.3 per cent from 2021-22
- $750 million for home care, an increase of $81 million or 12.1 per cent from 2021-22
- Additional funding includes:
- $204 million over three years to modernize existing continuing care facilities and create additional continuing care spaces in Alberta, primarily through the Continuing Care Capital Program. Grant calls will follow later this year.
- $91 million over three years to complete the Bridgeland-Riverside Continuing Care Centre in Calgary that will accommodate about 200 residents and deliver day programs and services for Calgary-area seniors. Construction of the new centre will finish in late 2023 or early 2024.
- $142 million over two years for the Gene Zwozdesky Centre in Edmonton will add 145 new spaces and renovate 205 existing spaces to accommodate 350 continuing care residents with complex needs. Construction of the main building is expected to be complete in late 2022, with renovation of the Angus McGugan building to follow.