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In this report, we highlighted three insights that provide a glimpse into how Ontario long-term care organizations govern themselves, via administrator perceptions and perspectives. The aim of our project—to gather and share foundational information about the corporate governance landscape of long-term care—has been realized.

We learned that most of our participants are aware of the governing body within their long-term care organization, and of some aspects of the governing body’s processes and structures, including the skills of its members and its meeting frequency, for example. We also learned that facilities based long-term care is delivered by different organizational types in Ontario. As a result, one organization’s corporate governance may look different from another organization’s corporate governance.

For example, we observed differences between for-profit and non-profit long-term care organizations in the adoption and use of a board; additional work would be required to further probe this insight. Or, we learned that the ideal set of skills for directors may not be the same for all long-term care organization boards. With respect to the latter, while the foundations of good corporate governance can be important tools for effective corporate governance, each long-term care organization is unique, and may need unique processes and structures to serve their community.

We also identified what we have inferred to be varying levels of understanding about corporate governance structures and processes among administrators and other senior managers, as suggested by variable response rates to individual questions, indications of uncertainty about a topic in response selections, and the overall response rate to our survey. While it is difficult to extrapolate conclusive insights about the extent of administrators’ knowledge of the board—due to the survey’s response rate, and the disproportionate representation of organizational types—our results suggest potentially significant and concerning gaps in the corporate governance literacy of Ontario’s long-term care home leaders.

We hope our findings spur further research into this issue. Information flows between the board and management (in both directions) are vitally important to ensure effective corporate governance of an organization, including the risk oversight that is critical in a long-term care home.

Throughout this project—and despite the many differences among long-term care organizations—we also observed shared or similar corporate governance structures and processes. We intend for our findings to demonstrate that the foundations for good corporate governance are in place among many long-term care organizations, and that long-term care organizations can learn from one another, when it comes to implementing and using effective corporate governance.

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