New National Long-Term Care Standards to Provide Safer Environment and High-Quality Care

The global pandemic has shone a light on the unique challenges within Canada’s long-term care (LTC) sector, with approximately 70% of all deaths attributed to people living in LTC settings and retirement home settings across the country. To address some of those challenges, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), Health Standards Organization (HSO) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group) are collaborating to develop two new complementary National Standards of Canada for LTC. Standards, and conformity to those standards, will help ensure that Canada’s long-term care home settings are safe, properly supported and that the more than 250,000 residents who call them home are also receiving the quality of care they need and deserve.

The standards will address both the delivery of safe, reliable and high-quality care services and the health infrastructure and environmental design of long-term care homes.

“Standards provide confidence in the quality and safety of services; they also play an integral role in improving the overall health and safety of Canadians” says Chantal Guay, SCC’s CEO. “In collaboration with our partners, SCC will work hard to ensure that Canada’s long-term care standards respond to the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and help bring changes for the benefit of Canadians.”

The National Standard of Canada for Long-Term Care Services (CAN/HSO 21001:2022) , to be developed by HSO, will focus on resident- and family-centred care practices that value the importance of respect, dignity, trust and quality of life; safe, reliable and high-quality care based on evidence-informed practices; and a healthy and competent workforce to ensure sustainable, team-based, compassionate care. The standard will support an organizational culture that is outcome focused and strives towards the safety and well-being of all. Dr. Samir Sinha will be the technical committee Chair and lead the standard development for HSO.

“The devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada’s long-term care homes have only highlighted the long-standing issues that must be comprehensively addressed in order to provide our most vulnerable Canadians the resident and family-centred, safe, reliable, and high-quality care they deserve” said Dr. Sinha. “Having a consistent approach to enhancing the quality of care across all Canadian long-term care homes through a national standard will improve the quality of life for those of us who may one day need this level of care.”

The National Standard of Canada for Operation and Infection Prevention and Control of Long-Term Care Homes (CSA Z8004), to be developed by CSA Group, will provide requirements for safe operating practices and for infection prevention and control in long-term care homes.  Topics including HVAC, plumbing,  medical gas systems, and use of technology will be referenced or inform the standard. , Professor Alex Mihailidis will be the technical subcommittee Chair and lead the standard development work for CSA Group.

“This past year has brought to the forefront significant issues within our long-term care homes.  In response, we need to do all that we can to ensure that these facilities are places where everyone feels cared for in a safe and compassionate way” said Dr. Mihailidis.  “Working together with stakeholders, experts, and those with lived experiences, we will develop standards that will meet these challenges now and in the future.”

SCC sets a rigorous standards development process founded on consensus-based decisions and relies on the input from a broad range of stakeholders through public reviews. Public consultations will be launched within the standard development process. SCC will ultimately review the process for standards submitted for approval as National Standards of Canada.


April 2, 2021