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Canada’s number of seniors care workers, relative to the senior population receiving care, is well-below the international average.

In Canada, as in many other countries, the growth in the number of nurses and personal support workers providing institutional, residential, home and community care has not kept pace with the growth of the senior population. The number of care workers per 100 seniors has declined from 4.1 in 2010 to 3.4 in 2019, in Canada: well below the international average of 5. In addition, the decline in long-term care (LTC) workers relative to the senior population is larger than the international average over the past decade.

Simply meeting the international average would require recruiting and training about 100,000 more LTC nurses and personal support workers in Canada, or a 45% increase in staffing levels.

The pandemic has highlighted many existing issues in seniors care, including the dire consequences of seniors care staffing shortages. Addressing these issues will require fundamental changes to seniors care to ensure that policies, care pathways, incentive mechanisms and funding align with the preferences and care needs of Canadian seniors.

To learn more about our policy recommendations, please read “Ounce of Prevention, Pound of Cure: Seniors Care After COVID-19” by Rosalie Wyonch.