Professor Ito Peng on the value of a Long-Term Care Insurance system for Canada

June 2, 2021 by Victoria Shi

Recently, Professor Ito Peng's article titled "Long-term care insurance would better serve Canada's aging population" was featured in the digital magazine Policy Options, published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

In this article, Professor Peng states that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an immense toll on long-term care (LTC). However, these consequences are expected and the pandemic has only revealed the failings of Canada's LTC systems. Despite urgent warnings to reform and improve LTC for the past twenty years, "Canada's government have taken little or no serious action". Professor Peng urges the government to act quickly and to implement a universal, public long-term care insurance system. This would provide Canadians with a continuum of different care options.

Professor Ito Peng is a Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She is also the Director of the Centre for Global Social Policy at UofT and the Canadian Research Chair in Global Social Policy. Some of the topics that she has researched and written about include family and gender policies, labour market changes, care economy, and social and political economy.

We've included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article at Policy Options.

"Canada should learn from the experiences of other countries. Germany, Japan and South Korea made fundamental changes to their LTC systems well before COVID-19 hit. They made transformative shifts by replacing their patchwork systems of LTC provided by local and regional governments with universal, national public LTC Insurance (LTCI). In the process, they turned LTC from primarily a private family responsibility to a family, community and state collective responsibility.

These systems are financed by a combination of insurance premiums, general tax revenues and sliding-scale co-payments. They provide a range of services based on one’s level of disability. LTCI in all these countries operates on a mixed-market model, with the government setting the regulatory framework for service delivery, the price of services, the licensing and skills training of providers, and overall governance. The benefit of this model is that it capitalizes on the existing service capacity while reforming and building onto it, rather than breaking the existing system and rebuilding a new one from scratch. Germany introduced its LTCI in 1995, Japan in 2000 and Korea in 2008."