Alberta announces $68.5M for seniors, mental health care

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced $68.5 million in support for continuing care, home care, and addiction and mental health operators on Wednesday.

Kenney said the one-time funding boost will help cover added costs from the pandemic including additional cleaning, personal protective equipment and increased staffing levels.

“With contagious new variants emerging around the world including here in Canada, we must do more to protecting those in continuing care and other facilities and for other individuals who receive home care,” he said at an afternoon news conference.

The province said $48 million will go to non-contracted licensed supportive-living operators which look after about 5,000 facilities across the province caring for approximately 20,000 Albertans.

Another $9.6 million will head to home-care providers and about $1 million to community hospices.

Residential addiction and mental health facilities will also receive close to $10 million for increased costs and unused beds.

“Due to physical distancing and isolation requirements, many beds are not able to be used and these facilities rely on this income to cover many important services,” said Shandro.

According to the premier, the average age of Albertans who have died with COVID-19 is 82 and nearly two thirds of deaths have been among residents of long-term care and supportive-living homes.

“We must remain vigilant. Today’s announcement is part of that work,” said Kenney. “We are not letting up and we are not letting our guard down.”

As of Tuesday, Feb. 2, the province’s COVID-19 death toll was 1,660. 

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