The Financialization of Seniors' Housing in Canada

The financialization of seniors’ housing refers to the ownership and/or operation of long-term care homes and retirement residences by companies with a mandate to maximize returns for external shareholders. As of 2020, financialized companies owned approximately 33% of seniors’ housing in the country, including 42% of retirement units and 22% of long-term care beds. There is a well-documented pattern of inferior care at for-profit long-term care homes compared to public and non-profit homes, including fewer hours of direct care, lower staffing levels, and higher mortality and hospitalization rates. This report details the corporate strategies used by financialized companies to extract profits from the seniors’ housing sector, including maximizing government funding, debt-financed growth and expansion, sale-leaseback arrangements, economies of scale, and fee-for-service models. This report makes several recommendations to reduce the scope of financialization in seniors’ housing, focusing on federal transfers and standards, licensing, support for public and non-profit seniors’ housing, and investment in alternatives. Finally, the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing requires support for alternatives to retirement residences and long-term care homes to ensure seniors are not institutionalized against their wishes.

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