Retirement Home vs. Nursing Home: What’s The Difference?
August 27th, 2014

For many, the difference between a retirement home and a long-term care home (also known by some as a nursing home) is not quite clear. In fact, on many occasions the terms have been used interchangeably by the general public (and unfortunately sometimes even by health care professionals). There are, however, very important differences; differences that you should be aware of. Below are some general points differentiating these two types of senior residential care homes.

Know the Difference

  Long-term Care
(Nursing Homes)

Governed By:

Long-Term Care  Act , 2007

Retirement Homes Act, 2010

Licensed By:

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA)


Can only be accessed via Community Care Access Centres (CCAC)

Can apply directly to homes


Can range from:

  • 3-4 people per room(basic)
  • 2 people per room(semi-private)*
  • 1 person per room(private)*

*Additional costs apply for such

  • Generally private rooms(1 person)
  • Larger suites available for couples


Provincially standardized fee

  • $1794.28/month(basic room)
  • $2163.24/month(semi-private room)
  • $2563.22/month(private room)

Costs and fees vary depending on the home and level of care needed


Subsidy available if the individual is unable to afford the provincially standardized fee(Proof of Income/Notice of Assessment required)*

*Subsidy not available for semi or private accommodations.

Subsidy generally not available

Complaint Reporting

  • Can be made directly to the home following the home’s complaints process


  • Contact the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care  at:
    Long-Term Care ACTION Line
  • Can be made directly to the home following the home’s complaint procedures


  • Contact the RHRA at:

Wait Times

  • Vary depending on the home
  • Generally wait times for admission can be very lengthy
  • Wait times can even range from months to a few years
  • Vary depending on the home
  • Generally short wait times, if any.
  • At times, admissions can occur as quickly as within a few days(depending on the home)


These are a few of the general differences between retirement homes and Long-term care homes (Nursing Homes).  Hopefully this handy chart provided some clarity on the differences.

For more detailed information on Long-term care homes (Nursing Homes) and Retirement Homes, please see the below links:


And if you, or a loved one, are looking to relocate to a retirement home, but would like assistance in exploring available options, feel free to contact us at:

Phone: 416-645-9960

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