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Nursing and residential care facilities, 2020

Released: 2022-03-03

Operating revenue, public nursing and residential care facilities

$19.0 billion


8.2% increase

(annual change)

Nursing and residential care facilities in 2020: Implications from the first year of the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many industries, but may have presented its greatest challenge to Canada's nursing and residential care facilities. It was devastating to the lives of Canadian seniors and the front-line workers who protect them.

With this release, Statistics Canada uses administrative files and other sources of data to publish financial estimates for the industry. The total operating revenue of the nursing and residential care facilities industry, covering public and privately owned facilities, grew by 7.4% to $34.6 billion in 2020. To further understand the implications and outcomes of the health crisis, Statistics Canada has also published industry characteristic information on nursing and residential care facilities.

Industry trends in 2020

The widespread transmission of COVID-19 forced facilities to alter their capacity and reduce new admissions in 2020. There was also a growing reluctance among Canadians to send family members to assisted-living facilities after the first wave of the pandemic. To help curb the spread of COVID-19 and to protect residents in both public and private facilities, more money was spent on infection prevention and control measures such as personal protective equipment, testing and other screening measures. Those key trends had an impact on the industry in 2020.

Although the average weekly earnings for workers in the nursing and residential care facilities industry were up by 14.3% in 2020 because of increased overtime and government wage subsidies, most facilities faced (and still do) some sort of staffing shortage and an increase in absenteeism among staff.

Key highlights of public facilities

The operating revenue of public facilities increased by 8.2% to reach $19.0 billion in 2020, representing 55% of the industry total. Quebec contributed the most operating revenue provincially, at $6.0 billion, followed by Ontario at $4.2 billion and Alberta at $2.5 billion.

Operating expenses increased by 6.5% to reach $19.1 billion in 2020. Salaries, wages, commissions and benefits, representing almost three-quarters of operating expenses, rose by 6.2% in 2020, bringing its total to $14.1 billion. Consequently, an operating deficit was reported by public facilities, totalling $160.3 million.

Key highlights of private facilities

The operating revenue of private facilities increased by 6.5% in 2020, reaching $15.6 billion. The leading province was Ontario at $6.4 billion, followed by Quebec with $4.2 billion and British Columbia with $2.1 billion.

Operating expenses totalled $14.2 billion in 2020, representing an increase of 7.4% from 2019. Salaries, wages, commissions and benefits, representing just over half of operating expenses in private facilities, increased 7.0% in 2020 to reach $7.8 billion. The profit margin edged down to 9.2% in 2020, the lowest since 2015.

  Note to readers

These estimates represent an aggregate of administrative financial data from the fiscal year ending between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

The nursing and residential care facilities industry covers nursing care facilities; residential developmental handicap, mental health and substance abuse facilities; community care facilities for the elderly; and other residential care facilities.

Separate estimates are published for private and public facilities. Public facilities are owned by not-for-profit organizations, as well as by the government.

The nursing and residential care facilities data for 2017, 2018 and 2019 have been revised.

Characteristic information on the nursing and residential care facilities industry can be found here: Statistics Canada: A profile of nursing and residential care facilities, 2019.

Information on protective measures was taken from: Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing and residential care facilities in Canada.

Information regarding admissions and staffing issues comes from the report available at Long-term care and COVID-19: The first 6 months.

Information regarding average weekly wages comes from table 14-10-0204-01.

Data are collected for the 12-month fiscal period, which ends at some point from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. This means that some businesses have reported for a year in which the majority of their operations were pre-pandemic. As such, the effects of the pandemic are not fully reflected in this reference year, but will extend to the reference year 2021 estimates.

These and other data related to business and consumer services can be found at the Business and consumer services and culture statistics portal.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

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