New Brunswick on Friday announced plans to add 240 new nursing home beds across the province.
A call for proposals has been issued for the construction of four 60-bed care homes in Moncton, Oromocto, Bouctouche and Bathurst.
The new homes are part of Phase 3 of the government’s five-year plan for care homes, according to Social Development Secretary Dorothy Shephard.
“There are currently 71 licensed nursing homes in New Brunswick with 4,953 beds. The government plans to increase that number to 81 licensed care homes and add 600 beds to the system,” Shephard told Parliament on Friday.
Interested developers have until February to submit their proposals, the province said in a press release.
Shephard said the department plans to launch another call for proposals in the coming months.
Five 60-bed nursing homes were announced in the first two phases of the nursing home plan.
Two in Moncton, one in Fredericton and one in Saint John are scheduled to open next year. The new facility in Saint-Isidore will open in 2024.
Liberal social development critic Robert Gauvin welcomed the news of four more care homes in the province.
However, Gauvin said he was concerned about how they would be staffed as there was already a problem with staffing existing care homes.
“I would urge ministers to come back and share with us what they are aggressively pursuing to ensure we have the people we need to ensure our aging population can complete the final chapter of their lives in full dignity,” Gauvin told lawmakers. .
Green Party leader David Coon expressed similar concerns, noting that there needs to be a clear strategy to ensure new houses are staffed by well-trained staff.
Coon said the government has also not said whether the new homes will be non-profit or for-profit.
However, in the past, the bidding process has put nonprofit nursing homes at a disadvantage over for-profit nursing homes when it comes to expanding or redesigning homes,” he said.
“This is of great importance to me and my colleagues as Profit continues to expand its reach into our care sector. That shouldn’t be part of our nurturing of New Brunswickers.”
According to the province, 61 of the 71 existing retirement homes are run by non-profit organizations governed by a traditional-model board of directors. Another 10 operate on a contract or fee-based service model from private sector operators.