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Categories : Notes from our CEO

February 02, 2021

There continues to be media coverage of issues faced by the Long-Term Care (“LTC”) sector in Canada. Unfortunately, instead of covering the heroic efforts of the staff at these homes and those supporting them or writing informed and intelligent discussion of potential solutions for the sector’s long-standing problems, the focus continues to be on the issue of ownership of LTC homes and the vilification of public companies that operate them. Some recent articles have suggested that these public companies are not “ethical investments” and that investment funds who consider environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) matters important should review their support of the sector. The accusation is that publicly traded operators provide inferior care and divert government funding for the LTC sector to paying dividends to their investors. This cannot be farther from truth, especially when it comes to Chartwell.

Chartwell’s Ontario LTC segment represents 10% of our operations. Despite being a small part of our business, we have deep expertise in the sector. I am so proud of our LTC teams who continue doing an extraordinary job caring for the safety and well-being of our residents and their families. Prior to the pandemic, this team’s clinical results, as measured by six universal quality indicators, were meaningfully ahead of provincial averages. In fact, we have exceeded provincial averages in all six quality indicators since 2018. While we continue to work closely with our public health system partners and are grateful for their support, none of our homes have required Canadian military, Red Cross, or third-party management assistance since the start of the pandemic. This a true testament to the exceptional commitment of our employees and the expertise and dedication of our LTC leadership teams. I am so grateful to all of them for their tremendous and heroic work.

In Ontario LTC the government funding received for nursing and personal support services can only be spent on these purposes with excess, if any, returned to the government. No profit can be made from this funding. There are annual reconciliations and third-party audits to ensure this. Other costs of operating a home such as utilities, insurance, maintenance, administration, as well as payments to lenders and shareholders are covered through the accommodation funding envelope and from residents’ co-pay. The government regulates 100% of all revenues in the LTC sector and therefore controls any potential returns on invested capital. Without reasonable expectation of returns, no capital would flow to the sector, and without this capital there will be no redevelopment of older beds or the creation of new, much needed capacity. The media attacks on the private sector are not only distracting to those fighting this pandemic on the front lines, but also create increased risks and therefore higher costs of future investments in this sector.

Chartwell has been a leader in the ESG movement in Canada. From our energy efficiency initiatives, to our focus on employee engagement and customer experience, and to our strong corporate governance, our stakeholders know they can rely on us for solid business practices. In 2020, Chartwell was recognized as the sixth-best governed company in Canada out of 211 by the Globe and Mail Board Games. We have consistently ranked high in this publication, which is a direct reflection of our sound governance practices that include accountability, transparency, and integrity in all facets of our operations. We have also been recognized as a leader in gender diversity amongst Canadian public companies. If investing in a well-run, responsible, transparent company with strong governance which delivers much needed services and care to the Canadian seniors is not an ethical investment, what is?

February is Black History month, where Canadians are invited to participate in festivities that honour the legacy – past and present – of Black Canadians. I hope each all of us will take this opportunity to learn about the many achievements and contributions Black Canadians have made throughout history to help make our nation more culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous.

The Chartwell Experience

Paul, resident at Chartwell Avondale Retirement Residence

Employees at Chartwell Avondale in Toronto, Ontario are doing everything they can to make the transition for new residents as seamless as possible. When Paul, the home’s newest resident moved in, staff found out he had a passion for art and birds and brought him a bird colouring book to help pass the time. They also brought him a piece of delicious pie and ice cream, which he couldn’t get enough of! The new transition program implemented in our homes has allowed staff to get to know residents on a deeper level and truly understand their likes, interests, and abilities. Thank you to the Avondale team for helping to make Paul’s transition a smooth one.

A Worthy Read

Annually, Bill and Melinda Gates write a report reflecting on the past year and the work their Foundation has been doing. I found this year’s report not only informative and thoughtful, but in some ways also uplifting. Here’s to humanity taking the learnings from an extraordinary year that was 2020 to make lasting positive changes for our societies and our planet!

Vlad Volodarski
Chief Executive Officer