Supportive Housing and Assisted Living

Supportive Housing & Assisted Living are some of the terms used for housing geared to people who require minimal to moderate levels of personal care and support. There is a great mix of housing types in this group.  Usually there are on-site services (which vary by location). Accommodations may consist of owned or rented units within a building or other forms of housing such as co-operatives, townhomes, houses, etc.


Independent Living

Supportive/Assisted Living

Long-Term Care Homes


Individual is able to manage the daily tasks of living independently by oneself or with assistance.

Individual needs minimum to moderate levels of assistance with daily living.

Individual needs availability of 24 hour care.

Types of Housing

Owned or rented house, apartment, condo, etc.


Owned or rented accommodation in Seniors or Supportive Living community such as Senior housing developments. Retirement homes.

Long-Term Care Homes; access through the Community Care Access Centres throughout Ontario

Support Services

Individual is responsible for securing and funding any assistance needs i.e. home modifications, maintenance, personal care, etc.

Supports available on site and may include meals, personal support, health care, activities, etc.

24 hour personal support and nursing care available


Individual pays for everything.

Individual pays for housing expenses; on-site services costs vary by location & service provider.

Ministry of Health & Long Term Care & Resident both pay.  (Co-payment system) Finances are not a barrier for any Ontario resident  


There are three broad categories of supportive housing/assisted living accommodations.

Supportive Housing 'Developments'

Supportive housing 'developments' with on-site services may be owned and operated by municipal governments, non-profit groups, and private businesses.  Accommodations, on-site services and costs vary. Some locations have rent-geared-to-income subsidies available.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Private Options

  • Private options such as ‘Granny Flats’ or secondary suites in a family member’s home, have supports being provided mainly by family members.  
  • Housing developments that are designed specifically for seniors, usually termed 'Adult Living or Senior Communities'.  These include options such as condominium developments, leased land with owned dwellings and life lease homes.

Retirement Homes

Retirement Homes are also included in this category.  They are privately owned, rental accommodations for seniors who require minimal to moderate levels of personal care and support. Retirement homes are funded entirely by the fees paid by residents who rent their accommodation and purchase an ‘amenities’ package; costs vary widely. Ontario now has The Retirement Homes Act and a Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority which administers the act and is responsible for licensing retirement homes.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Ontario Seniors' Secretariat 
Southwest Healthline Retirement Homes Listing