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Ontario Retirement Homes - What is a Retirement Home?

Ontario Retirement Homes - What is a Retirement Home?

It's time for objective, straight-forward advice on your senior living options. If you're considering Retirement Home living to take your retirement living to the next level, then you want the inside track. Get started here. 

What you need to know to get started

When my parents were unable to live independently in their family home, my family struggled to find suitable senior living options that met their assisted living needs. I researched the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 (the “Act”) and the Ontario Regulation 166/11 (the “Regulation") to get a better understanding of how these types of facilities are owned and operated. I’ve written a series of guides and blog posts using my research, supplemented with experience (see ‘Pro Tips’) gained supporting my parents.

To kick of the series, let’s start with the basics.

What is the definition of retirement home in Ontario?

Pro Tip – Retirement Homes are not the same as Long-Term Care (‘LTC’) homes. Look for the blog post ‘Top 7 Differences Between LTC homes and Retirement Homes’ if you want my research on this topic.

Details - The Act defines a Retirement Home as a residential complex or the part of a residential complex,

  1. that is occupied primarily by persons who are 65 years of age or older,
  2. that is occupied or intended to be occupied by at least the prescribed number of persons who are not related to the operator of the home, and
  3. where the operator of the home makes at least two care services available, directly or indirectly, to the residents, but does not include,
  4. premises or parts of premises that are governed by or funded under,

The definition of Retirement Home is further defined in the Regulations:

  1. a residential complex or the part of a residential complex that is a retirement home must be occupied or be intended to be occupied by at least six persons who are not related to the operator of the home. 
  2. The following premises are not retirement homes:
  1. Premises, or parts of premises, at which a supportive housing program or a residential treatment program is provided and funded under the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994, the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 or the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Act.
  2. Premises or parts of premises funded under the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Are Long Term Care (“LTC”) homes in Ontario different from Retirement Homes?

LTC homes are governed by the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 while retirement homes are governed by the Act. This document does not consider LTC homes in any detail. This information will be addressed in a separate document.

How are Retirement Homes regulated in the Province of Ontario?

Retirement homes are regulated in accordance with the Act, consisting of the following components:

Part 1 – Interpretation
Part 11 – Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority
Part III – Licence to Operate a Retirement Home
Part IV – Resident’s Rights, Care and Safety
Part V – Enforcement
Part IV – Appeals
Part VII – General

Retirement homes are regulated in accordance with the Regulation, consisting of the following topics:

  • Operation of a Retirement Home
  • Resident’s Rights
  • Staff and Volunteers
  • Standards for Retirement Homes
  • Safety Plans
  • Standards for Care Services Provided by Regulated Health Professional
  • Standards related to the Administration of Drugs or Other Substances
  • Standards related to Other Care Services
  • Assessment of Care Needs
  • Plan of Care
  • Devices
  • Restraint
  • Records
  • General
  • Commencement

What are the types of care services offered by Retirement Homes?

Pro Tip: Care services is a term you’ll hear a lot when looking at senior living options. These are the types of services you’ll use to complete your activities of daily living. These services may drive your choice for independent living or assisted living facilities as well as impact your senior housing costs as care services are typically in addition to Retirement Home rental rates.

The Act defines “care service” as,

  1. a prescribed health care service provided by a member of a College as defined in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991,
  2. administration of a drug, as defined in the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act, or another substance,
  3. assistance with feeding,
  4. assistance with bathing,
  5. continence care,
  6. assistance with dressing,
  7. assistance with personal hygiene,
  8. assistance with ambulation,
  9. provision of a meal, or
  10. any other service prescribed as a care service, but does not include any service that is prescribed as not being a care service.
Further the Regulation defines “care services” as the following:
  1. Any service that a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario provides while engaging in the practice of medicine.
  2. Any service that a member of the College of Nurses of Ontario provides while engaging in the practice of nursing.
  3. Any service that a member of the Ontario College of Pharmacists provides while engaging in the practice of pharmacy.
  4. The provision of a dementia care program.
  5. The provision of a skin and wound care program. 

2. Services provided under the Homemakers and Nurses Services Act are not care services for the purposes of the Act. 


If you’re looking for more information about this topic or if you want assistance identifying a senior living option that fits your needs, contact us for a free one-hour consultation.

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