Supply chain, outbreaks hampering installation of air conditioning in LTC: minister

90 homes have yet to become fully air−conditioned

 Ontario’s long−term care minister says supply chain issues and COVID−19 outbreaks are hampering efforts to install air conditioning in all resident rooms.

Paul Calandra says the province is following up with long−term care homes that have failed to meet a government deadline – 90 homes have yet to become fully air−conditioned.

Legislation passed last year required that homes install air conditioning in all resident rooms by June 22 of this year.

A spokesperson for the ministry says 537 of the province’s 627 long−term care homes were fully air−conditioned as of Tuesday.

The ministry could not say how many residents are affected.

Temperatures have soared this week across much of the province, prompting Environment Canada to issue heat warnings for several regions on some days.

Calandra says the issue is “top of mind,” particularly in light of the recent weather.

“Are we ensuring that (the remaining homes) are doing everything they possibly can to get air conditioning into the homes? Yes,” he said at the legislature.

“But in those instances where supply chain issues are happening or where there is an outbreak, we have to follow the advice of the chief medical officer of health and we have to do our best to overcome the supply−chain issues.”

The Ontario Long Term Care Association, which represents private, not−for−profit, and municipal homes, said those challenges are affecting all types of homes equally.

“Many of the homes are older and have a lack of electrical capacity or other structural issues with their buildings, and supply chain issues are affecting everything from parts to contractors, including specialists such as electricians. Installation can be further delayed if a home goes into outbreak and contractors are unable to do work during that time,” CEO Donna Duncan wrote in a statement.

She noted every home has air−conditioned cooling rooms, and temperatures are monitored throughout the buildings daily, with plans in place for when temperatures rise above 26 C.

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