The demand for space in Ontario’s long-term care homes is growing.

That’s no surprise. Baby boomers are reaching their senior years, after all. The number of Ontarians aged 65 and over is expected to double in the next 25 years.

Given the projected demand for elderly care, however, Ontario’s lack of preparation is astounding.

More than 26,000 people are on wait lists for long-term care residency in Ontario, with an average wait time of over 100 days. Advocates for the long-term care home industry say those figures are only going to grow unless provincial funding is increased.

It’s time for Ontario to heed the advocates’ calls for help and guarantee that government investment in long-term care homes will keep pace with inflation, at the very least.

Right now, homes struggle to keep up with increases in basics like electricity, labour and property taxes. “Every year we fight just to get basic inflationary growth that sometimes doesn’t typically cover all the pressures the homes face,” says Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long-Term Care Association.

The province spends over $4 billion annually on public and privately owned long-term care homes. In its 2016 budget, Ontario committed to increasing the budget by 2 per cent per year for three years. But that still lags behind the inflation rate, currently 2.3 per cent in Ontario.