SAULT STE. MARIE -- The next provincial election isn't scheduled until 2022, but Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath has already made a big campaign promise.

If her party wins the election, Horwath said she will make a major change to the long-term care industry.

"We're going to completely overhaul long-term care, so it's public and not for profit," she said.

Speaking to Northern Ontario reporters over Zoom, Horwath said her party wants to get rid of the current model for long-term care homes and implement a new model that she said is being used in the Netherlands and some U.S. states.

"We’re going to end a practise of building big, centralized institution like facilities and build more small family like homes so people can stay in their own community and stay closer to the family," she said.

The move would also create 50,000 new beds across the province.

The change would be expensive. The NDP estimates the plan would cost $6 billion in capital costs over eight years and $9.5 billion in operational funding over six years. How quickly could the NDP implement it if elected in the next election?

Horwath couldn't say. She said it would require consultations with municipalities and current operators.

She anticipates that up to 10 seniors would be living in one home. She also pledged a minimum of 4.1 hours of daily care per resident if elected.