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WATCH: All Ontario long-term care homes in compliance with new regs on air-conditioning

For the first time, province has set standards for cooling in long-term care homes during the summer months

Ontario said in 2020, 13 per cent of Ontario long-term care homes had no air conditioning. Not any longer.

For the first time ever, Ontario has mandated that long-term care homes must have designated cooling areas to help keep residents and staff cool during the warm months.

The province updated the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 on April 1. The update requires 

designated cooling areas to be available in all homes and that air temperature be maintained at a comfortable level when the mercury rises. 

Today, Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton said all 626 long-term care homes in Ontario are in compliance with the new regulations, which came into effect May 15. 

To help homes meet the new requirements, Ontario provided $105 million in funding to long-term care homes.

“This is a major achievement,” Fullerton said during a May 27 press conference.

Under the amended legislation, LTC homes without a central air-conditioning system must have one designated cooling area for every 40 residents. As well, all new long-term care homes or redeveloped homes must install cooling systems to keep temperatures at a comfortable level throughout the building.

Ontario said as of today, 60 per cent of LTC homes in the province are fully air-conditioned, including in resident rooms, with an additional 23 per cent working toward that goal. This is up from 42 per cent during the summer of 2020.

Asked about the use of fans in areas where there is no air-conditioning available, Fullerton said because of the way fans move air around there is concern their use could increase the transmissibility of air-borne virus and particulate matter