Visits soon to be permitted at long-term care homes, retirement homes and other residential care settings in Ontario

Above photo from Adobe Stock Images.

Beginning June 18, 2020, the Ontario government will allow access for family and friends to visit loved ones living in retirement homes, long-term care homes, and other residential care settings — but with some restrictions.

Visits were restricted since mid-March, with only essential visitors permitted to enter long-term care and retirement homes.

The new restrictions include:

Long-term care homes:

  • Will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum.

Retirement homes:

  • Will allow indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Visitor admissions will vary from home to home depending upon their individual circumstances.

Other residential care settings:

  • These residential care settings include;
  • Homes serving people with developmental disabilities;
  • Shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and;
  • Children’s residential settings.
  • These settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at a time, but it may vary by setting.

“Physical distancing will be required for all visits. This approach will ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors,” says a press release from the province.

Additionally, long-term care and retirement homes, as well as other residential care settings, must meet the following conditions before they welcome visitors:

  • Homes must not be in outbreak;
  • Homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and
  • Homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.

“Thanks to the hard work of our frontline workers and the collective efforts of everyone in stopping the spread, we can now allow families to reunite with their loved ones safely and in person with strict public health measures to protect residents, visitors and staff,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford in a press release on June 11.

“But I ask everyone to be cautious and act responsibly as the battle to contain COVID-19 is not over and the risk to our loved ones still remains.”

“We know the visitor restrictions have been tough on residents, as families and loved ones play an important role in providing care and emotional support to residents. We are confident these visits can occur safely. With the possible spread of COVID-19 in our long-term care homes still being a real threat, people will need to follow strict health and safety protocols in order to protect our most vulnerable,” said Minister for long-term care, Merrilee Fullerton in the press release.

“Seniors living in retirement homes have been doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our government appreciates their cooperation and we are happy they will soon be able to enjoy visits with family and friends while continuing to stay safe,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility in the press release.

“We threw everything we have at it and we are continuing to do that, we’re going to fix the problem and we’re going to get this straightened out,” said Ford during his June 11 press conference, referring to the number of deaths at long-term care homes in the province and across Canada.

“Because it’s our duty to take care of the most vulnerable people in society and to make sure we protect them and make sure they take care of the families that they have faith and trust that when they put a loved one in long-term care, then they are going to be taken care of,” he continued.

“There’s accountably, as I say, I take ownership of this and we’re going to fix it. The eye’s of the world are on everyone at long-term care here in Ontario, the U.S., and across Canada. But we are going to do everything we can to get this taken care of — we will get it resolved.”

Has not being able to see a loved one in a care home impacted you? Let us at Diverge know by leaving a comment or emailing us at

@BroderickVisser via Twitter.