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Categories : Notes from our CEO

August 17, 2021

It is no secret that Chartwell’s operations and financial results have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Occupancy in our retirement residences portfolio, which comprise over 90% of our business, declined from 88% in February 2020 to just over 76% in June 2021. Our Long Term Care (LTC) portfolio occupancy has also experienced a decline. This has been a long 17-month period of struggle and hard work to keep residents, families, and staff safe, and business persevering through the crisis. So, it is now very encouraging to see that our retirement residences occupancies have stabilized and our leading indicators – web site traffic, initial contacts, personalized tours and signed leases – have been steadily increasing, almost reaching pre-pandemic levels. Our Long Term Care homes have also been steadily increasing their occupancy for several months now and expect to reach stabilized occupancy levels of 97% by the end of August. We recently released our financial results for the second quarter of 2021. For more information, please check out our Q2 press release and a recording of our investor call.

I believe that we are at a turning point of this pandemic, even with the new threats posed by the emerging virus variants. This turning point is due to the high vaccination rates among our residents, employees and in the community overall. As a result, the virus circulation has slowed down, which has allowed for easing of various pandemic related restrictions in our homes. At Chartwell, 96% of our residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 92% of our LTC employees and 86% of our retirement residences employees received at least one does of the vaccine. We know vaccines are our best defence against COVID-19 and we continue to diligently work with those hesitant to provide support and education on the benefits of vaccination. For any new Chartwell employee or agency worker engaged in our homes, full vaccination is now required as a condition of employment. Thank you to all our incredible employees who continue to drive Chartwell forward in fulfilling its vision of Making People’s Lives Better.

Last week, the Ontario Long Term Care Association and Ontario Retirement Communities Association issued statements calling on the government of Ontario to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers and those working with vulnerable populations. Previously, several other professional associations, such as the Ontario Medical Association and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario issued similar calls. In addition, last week the BC government announced mandatory vaccinations for long term care and assisted living employees. We are highly supportive of this initiative. As a company dedicated to providing face-to-face services and care to nearly 30,000 residents, it is our duty to ensure we do everything possible to keep our residences safe and COVID-free. Across the country we began the implementation of our vaccination policies which require unvaccinated staff to submit to daily testing and wear additional personal protective equipment. We will continue to evaluate our progress in increasing vaccination rates among our staff and in future, may consider making vaccination a condition of employment for all our staff, even if vaccines are not made mandatory by the government.

The Chartwell Experience

Resident of Chartwell Tiffin Memory Living fishing with one of our lovely staff members.

Memory Living residents at Chartwell Tiffin in Midland, Ontario, were treated to a wonderful outing at White Pines Golf & Fishing. A number of residents caught rainbow trout and they were thrilled when they got to bring it back home to enjoy. Thank you to Universal Care Provider (UCP) Shayne, who helped to fillet the fish and to Maintenance Manager Kevin, who helped to fry them up! This is a wonderful example of employees going above and beyond to put a smile on our residents faces.

A Worthy Read

On the recommendation of Janine Reed, Chartwell’s Senior Director of Communications and Public Relations, I recently read a book by Donald Miller, “Building a Story Brand”. It this book, Miller, New York Times bestselling author, public speaker and business owner, offers a process that helps businesses better connect with their existing and prospective customers. The process involves seven principles needed to build a “Story Brand” that is likely to get customers attention.

For example: STORYBRAND PRINCIPLE ONE: THE CUSTOMER IS THE HERO, NOT YOUR BRAND. “When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as the guide, we will be recognized as a trusted resource to help them overcome their challenges. Positioning the customer as the hero in the story is more than just good manners; it’s also good business.''

I feel that in our marketing and communication approach, Chartwell is very much aligned with the seven principles described in this book. What do you think? Let me know.

Vlad Volodarski
Chief Executive Officer