Note: The Québec Ombudsman is aware that CHSLDs are currently embroiled in an unprecedented crisis. Its report on the contribution of adult residents of CHSLDs stemmed from an investigation that was conducted long before COVID-19. Continuing its interventions despite the pandemic, it wishes to convey its findings immediately. They should be considered in the deliberations of all authorities about the future of CHSLDs.
People living in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) must pay lodging fees. The opinion released by the Québec Ombudsman on June 10, 2020 reveals significant and unfair disparities in how this financial contribution is calculated.
These include the fact that the contribution may be tripled, depending on the resident’s civil status. De facto spouses pay more than if they were married. On the other hand, certain provisions penalize married people. Couples are therefore compelled to either get divorced or get married because they cannot afford the lodging fees. In summary, determination of the financial contribution is too rigid. In many situations, the procedure penalizes residents unjustly.
The Québec Ombudsman considers the situation unacceptable. It pointed out that the applicable regulation goes back 35 years and that its main exemptions have never been reviewed. Its three recommendations to the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux are aimed mainly at eliminating these unfair disparities arising from CHSLD residents’ civil status.