How Will COVID-19 Alter the Politics of Long-Term Care? A Comparative Policy Analysis of Popular Reform Options

Can J Aging. 2021 Oct 29;1-10. doi: 10.1017/S0714980821000489. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

This policy analysis reviews three popular proposals with significant political endorsement to enhance long-term care (LTC), here defined broadly to include residential care facilities, home care, and community care, in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis: national standards, provincial autonomy, and de-privatization. The proposals are summarized succinctly followed by a neo-institutionalist analysis of the obstacles to enact them based upon a series of interviews conducted prior to COVID-19 with senior civil servants in Canadian provinces for a newly published book (Marier, 2021) and political considerations. While the federal government has pursued the avenue of instituting national standards, the provinces have clearly expressed a desire to secure higher federal health transfers and pursue LTC reforms on their own. Considering the diversity of LTC arrangements across the provinces, which impact the politics of LTC within each jurisdiction, and the presence of many Conservative governments in provincial capitals, Ottawa faces an uphill battle to transform profoundly the LTC landscape.

Keywords: SLD; aging; autonomie provinciale; civil servants; de-privatization; déprivatisation; fonctionnaires; long-term care; national standards; normes nationales; province; provincial autonomy; vieillissement.