For-profit LTC homes attract fewer applicants than not-for-profit homes

Not-for-profit long-term care beds are more popular than for-profit beds
Government data suggests for-profit long-term care beds are less desired by the public than not-for-profit beds.   

There are long wait lists for a beds in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  (This is driven by the government's decision to add only a few new LTC beds despite the rapid growth in the number of people 85 and older, the main users of these beds.)

But some LTC facilities attract longer line-ups than others.

In early 2014, there were 41,842 beds at private, for-profit LTC facilities in Ontario (54% of the total of 78,138 beds). 

But only 6,781 people in the community put themselves on a wait list for one of these beds.  In other words, each for-profit bed has 0.16 people on the wait list for it.   

In contrast, there were 19,599 not-for-profit LTC beds (25% of the total), but 9,113 people put themselves on the wait list for them.  In other words, there were 0.46 people waiting for a not-for-profit bed.  

That is 2.9 times higher demand than for a for-profit bed.

Similarly, there were 16,433 municipal beds (21% of total supply) and 5,475 people waiting for them in the community – i.e. 0.33 people waiting per bed.  That is more than double the number waiting for a for-profit bed.

Accordingly, “time to placement” (the days it takes to get a bed) is much shorter in the for-profit LTC sector.  It takes 75 days to get into a for-profit bed versus 175 days to get a not-for-profit bed.  That is 2.33 times longer.

In the municipal sector time to placement is 108 days -- 44% longer than for a for-profit bed. 

It looks an awful lot like for-profit beds are less desirable to residents and their families than the municipal and not-for-profit beds.

Today's LTC facilities are not the same facilities as they were even a decade ago.  High quality care is becoming more important as LTC residents are getting sicker and more vulnerable every year. 

The not-for-profit homes association says that 40% of residents now have 6 or more formal diagnoses and that this group is growing by 7.9% per year.  A broad range of treatments, many highly labour intensive, reflect this increased need. So, oxygen therapy is increasing at 5.9% per year, administering IV meds is increasing 10.2% per year, and monitoring intake/output is increasing 11.8% per year

This while the government has cut in 2014/15 the annual funding increase for each LTC bed to about a-third of what it had been between 2009 and 2012.

Other noteworthy points:
  • There is significant variation in the amount of for-profit beds by LHIN.  For-profit beds are least common in the North West LHIN (29%of the total), the Toronto Centre LHIN (32%), and the North East LHIN (42%) .  They are most common in the Waterloo Wellington LHIN (64%), the Central West LHIN (65%), and the Erie-St. Clair LHIN (69%). 
  • Bed occupancy throughout the province is 98.6%, topping the government's benchmark of 97%.
  • The average length of stay in the system is 3.0 years

Photo: Sean McGrath


  1. When you say for-profit LTC, are you talking about publicly-funded LTC beds that are run by for-profit corporations, or are you talking about beds that are outside of the regulation of MOHLTC and the CCAC placement system?

  2. In this piece, I'm comparing for-profit and not for profit long-term care homes that are publicly funded (both types receive the same sort of funding from the provincial government). Private homes that are not provincially funded, I usually refer to as retirement homes, rather than long-term care homes. I think that is the common practice in Ontario. Thanks for helping me clarify.