Is there an association between for-profit long-term care homes and COVID-19 outbreaks in Ontario?

Nursing Home, Templin, Uckermark, Seniors Residence

Bottom Line:

For-profit long-term care homes in Ontario were not more likely to experience a COVID-19 outbreak, but the ones that did had a greater extent of the outbreak as well as more resident deaths.


Stall, N. et al. For-profit nursing homes and the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and resident deaths in Ontario, Canada. CMAJ (2020)

Date Published:

22 July 2020


Long-term care (LTC) homes have become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Previous research has shown that for-profit LTC homes tend to provide poorer care for residents across various measures. To determine whether there were any differences in COVID-19 outbreaks and resident deaths between non-profit and for-profit LTC homes, researchers collected data from all 623 Ontario LTC homes from a database maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care. The results of their study showed that while a home’s for-profit status did not determine the likelihood of an outbreak occurring, for-profit homes were associated with a greater extent of outbreak and more resident deaths. These differences in outcomes were likely due to older design standards and chain ownership of for-profit homes. The findings from this study support a longstanding need to reform long-term care in Canada in order to prevent adverse outcomes in future disease outbreaks.

Summary by: Louis Huynh