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Building to Scale: SE Health invests in Small Care Homes

As Canada grapples with the unmet housing and health care needs of an aging population,
the not-for-profit social enterprise will employ broad strategies including design innovation and
 public, private and social financing to grow and scale the ‘small care home’ model

SE Health, a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to forever impacting how people live and age at home, today announced the acquisition of the ExquisiCare group of companies including ExquisiCare Seniors Living and Care at Home by ExquisiCare as a strategic new venture within its evolving housing and health portfolio, SE Homes.

Established in 2010 by nurse entrepreneur Dawn Harsch, ExquisiCare owns and operates a network of custom built small-scale elder care homes, which provide boutique accommodations and continuing care services within residential homes and neighbourhoods. SE Health and ExquisiCare share common values including love, dignity and respect for elders as well as a commitment to excellence and impact at scale.

We are very excited to be joining with SE Health to scale this innovative model across Alberta and beyond, with an emphasis on personalized experiences, exceptional quality and purposeful living for aging Canadians,” says Dawn Harsch, president of ExquisiCare and a registered nurse who has spent many years working in the Alberta health system.

Through a staffing model that includes 24/7 nursing, elders are supported across the care continuum from light touch assisted living to long-term care and through the palliative stage. ExquisiCare currently operates three small care homes with 10 suites each, located in Edmonton, and together with SE Health, plans to grow and expand the concept using a blend of private, public and social financing.

The move deepens SE Health's housing strategy and comes as policy researchers are advocating for smaller residential models of long-term care, with the potential for lower costs, better outcomes and speed to build[iii]. Faced with a growing gap in affordable supportive housing options for older adults, many provincial governments including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Nova Scotia are working to introduce small care homes into the continuing care system and new communities of living.

About one in five Canadians - over seven million people – are currently over the age of 65. That number is growing, and the vast majority of older adults wish to remain in their home for as long as possible. Indeed, a 2020 Ipsos poll found that 85 per cent of Canadians would like to avoid going to a traditional nursing home[iii].

Today, we see an exciting opportunity to expand new approaches to seniors living and care outside of traditional institutional settings, while working to ensure these models are both accessible and sustainable,” says John Yip, CEO of SE Health, noting the acquisition includes a growing home health care division, which is another strategic asset for SE's future in Alberta.

Mr. Yip believes the personalized household-style of eldercare is an idea whose time has come - noting it is more aligned with longstanding Canadian preferences toward aging in place, can be adapted to a range of needs, and yields a variety of positive social and economic benefits.

As part of its global thought leadership and social impact work, SE Health has been exploring opportunities to increase the range and supply of innovative affordable housing for seniors. Current and recent projects include:

  • Working with a range of affordable housing providers, funders, municipalities, Ontario Health Teams and other community organizations to develop and refine new age-friendly models including a future demonstration site in Kingston, Ontario
  • Invited participant in the Social Purpose Real Estate Accelerator [a program of the Infrastructure Institute at the University of Toronto] and the Affordable Housing Development Toolbox Foundations Program [Cahdco] to build internal capacity for affordable housing development and advance projects
  • Funded through the Investment Readiness Program [Government of Canada] to explore how social finance investment models can help fund and scale affordable housing projects, in partnership with Tapestry Community Capital
  • Project partner in the National Housing Strategy Solutions Lab, Building with Mission: Supporting health care organizations to build housing for seniors [Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corp]

About SE Health

SE Health is a not-for-profit social enterprise that shares its knowledge, provides the best care, and helps each client to realize their most meaningful goals for health and wellbeing. Established in 1908 by four pioneering nurses, we have worked with purpose for more than a century to bring hope and happiness, and forever impact how people live and age at home. Today, our 8,000+ team members nationwide provide care in more places and ways than ever before, bringing health to life for over 20,000 Canadians every day. To learn more or join our growing team, visit or find us on social media.

About ExquisiCare

The ExquisiCare group of companies includes ExquisiCare Senior Living, and Care at Home by ExquisiCare.  Founded by nurse entrepreneur Dawn Harsch in 2012, ExquisiCare Senior Living has a mission to transform the culture of long-term care. Offering a distinct alternative to institutional environments, it enables elders to have their personal health and emotional needs met while living out their lives in a comfortable home. ExquisiCare currently operate three small care homes in Edmonton, Alberta. Care at Home by ExquisiCare began operations in 2017, offering professional care and services to elders in the comfort of their own homes, in and around the Edmonton Metro area. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Sarah Quadri

[1] The case for moving long-term care into small households, Policy Options, June 2020.
[1] Home-like long-term care models said to improve quality of life: USask report, Global News, April 2023
[1] The urgent need to re-imagine older adult care in Canada, HealthcareCAN, March 2023