On October 27, 2008 the Ontario government announced new regulations applicable to long-term care homes. Although the wording of the regulations has not been made publicly available, our understanding is that the regulations will allow two residents to “swap” facilities, when a matching vacancy exists, through new criteria in the “exchange category” on the waiting list. First priority will be granted to residents seeking to be reunited with a spouse or partner, while second priority will be given to residents seeking admission to a long-term care home that better serves persons of their religious, ethnic or linguistic background.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (the Ministry) believes that these new regulations will improve patient flow through hospitals and reduce wait times by encouraging patients waiting for a bed in a long-term care facility to accept a bed in a home that is not their first choice, knowing that they may be able to switch facilities more easily down the road.