General Information

Who requires a licence?

Under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010, (Act) businesses meeting the definition of “retirement home” in the Act now require a licence to operate in Ontario. A “retirement home” for the purposes of the Act is as follows:

A building or related group of buildings, or a part of a building or a part of a related group of buildings, with one or more rental units of living accommodation that meets the following criteria:

  • Occupied primarily by persons who are 65 years or older
  • Occupied or intended to be occupied by at least six persons who are not related to the operator of the home
  • Makes at least two of the 13 care services set out in the Act (and listed below) available, directly or indirectly, to residents

“Care services” for the purposes of the Act are as follows:

  • Administration of a drug
  • Assistance with feeding
  • Assistance with bathing
  • Continence care
  • Assistance with dressing
  • Assistance with personal hygiene
  • Assistance with ambulation
  • Provisions of a meal
  • The provisions of a dementia care program
  • The provision of a skin and wound care program
  • Any service that a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario provides while engaging in the practice of medicine
  • Any service that a member of the College of Nurses of Ontario provides while engaging in the practice of nursing
  • Any service that a member of the Ontario College of Pharmacists provides while engaging in the practice of pharmacy

The Act sets out exemptions to the definition of retirement home, including premises that are governed or funded under the Developmental Services Act, the Homes for Special Care Act, and the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007.

This summary is for general information purposes only, and operators should consult section 1 of the Act and section 3 of Regulation 166/11 under the Act to determine whether their home meets the definition of a retirement home in the Act.

Next steps

Once you determine that you are a retirement home, you will need to submit an application, supporting documents and the application fee to the RHRA. See the Apply for a Licence tab for the Applicant Guide and Application Forms.

Understanding the legislation

To learn more about the standards retirement homes must meet under the new law, visit the Operator Resources tab.

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