Premier Jason Kenney chatted with residents through the glass front door of AgeCare Seton Retirement Home in Calgary after delivering the update last week.
Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

The Alberta government will increase its funding for continuing care programs by $200 million under the new provincial budget. That will bring the government’s funding to $3.5 billion, a six per cent increase.

The spending breaks down as $1.6 billion for designated supportive living settings; $1.2 billion for long-term care settings; and $736 million for home care.

In addition to that amount, the government will spend $500 million to create more continuing care spaces.

The $500 million in spending includes $246 million to finish construction of the Gene Zwozdesky Centre  in Edmonton; $115 million to complete the Bridgeland Riverside Continuing Care Centre in Calgary; and more than $154 million to upgrade or develop new long-term care and designated supportive living spaces elsewhere in the province, including Indigenous communities.

Speaking in Calgary last week, Premier Jason Kenney said the government will conduct a review of facility-based continuing care in the province, which will make recommendations on workforce, funding, oversight, and accountability.

The government will also work to streamline the legislative framework for continuing care, he said.

“Alberta’s government will also be looking at a redesign of the home care system, in order to make it more easily accessible for clients,” Kenney said. “This will include expanding access to client-directed care options, to provide more control and choice to clients.”

At the Calgary event, health minister Tyler Shandro said the funding is intended to continue the
shift from hospital to community-based home and hospice care; develop effective caregiver supports; support clients staying in their homes; and  help create new or upgraded continuing care spaces.

He said the funding will help to make the health system more responsive patients’ and residents’ individual needs, and “to make the health system centred on patients, not institutions and not special interests.”

The budget amounts are in addition to $1.25 billion in one-time Covid-19 funding for the continuing care sector.