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Walford retirement home residents to be charged extra to pay for PPE

Plan is to impose new temporary levy of $106 per month beginning in March 2021
041220_LG_Walford Extra Costs PHOTO-1
The Walford retirement residence in Sudbury has advised residents that an additional fee of $106 per month will be required to pay for protective equipment for staff and residents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  (Len Gillis / Sudbury.Com)

Residents of The Walford retirement home in Sudbury have been told to expect a $106 monthly fee to cover the costs of paying for PPE (personal protective equipment) for the protection of residents and staff in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal is described as "a Temporary Enhanced Health and Safety Protection monthly fee" that is scheduled to begin in March of 2021 and will show up on monthly invoices beginning in April of 2021. The company said the fee would be in place for six months and then would be reassessed.

Some residents have expressed dismay at the fee, and are concerned it might become a long-term fixed cost. 

Oxford Living, the company that owns The Walford, along with several other retirement living homes across Ontario **, provided a letter to residents and families outlining the fee. The Oxford Living website describes The Walford in Sudbury as a 94-unit retirement community. 

The company also addressed the challenges involved in acquiring PPE in general.

"In the spring, our industry experienced real challenges in securing sufficient levels of PPE (masks, gowns, face shields and gloves required to protect you and themselves in preventing and managing an outbreak). To this end, we have required a robust inventory of PPE, hand sanitizers, masks and cleaning/disinfecting chemicals and have logistical plans in place to quickly move these to properties as required," said the notice letter. 

The letter said the company was a private business that operates without any subsidy to provide care and protection to its residents.

"We must fund additional health and safety enhancements and cost increases through a temporary surcharge," said the letter.

"This was not an easy decision and we do not take lightly the impact of this additional cost to you and your family," the letter continued. It added that the safety of the residents and the staff was the top priority and that the additional funding would support ongoing safety measures. 

Oxford Living's website revealed that the company has several retirement homes in Ontario**  including Thunder Bay, Elliot Lake, Toronto, Windsor, London, Guelph, Kitchener, Stayner, Fort Erie and Midland.

Sudbury.Com has reached out to the parent company, Oxford Living as well as the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority for additional comment on this development and whether similar fees might be expected for other venues. 

**NOTE: This story has been edited to reflect the fact that Oxford Living is not associated with The Walford retirement home in Timmins, Ontario which was incorrectly included in the original version of this story. 

About the Author: Len Gillis, local journalism initiative reporter

Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at covering health care in northeastern Ontario and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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