- Partner News
- Media Releases
- Mainstream News
REATER TORONTO AREA, ON, Feb. 9, 2024 – Universal public health care is a core part of what it means to be Canadian. It is the idea that no matter where you live or what you earn, you will always be able to get the care you need. Unfortunately, our health care system has not been living up to expectations. From overwhelmed emergency rooms to surgery backlogs to health care workers under enormous strain – Canadians deserve immediate action to deliver better health care, when and where they need it. That is why the Government of Canada is making transformative investments to improve how provinces and territories deliver health care across the country.
Today, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, alongside the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced a new $3.1 billion agreement to improve health care in Ontario. This investment will help increase access to family doctors, reduce wait times, hire more health care workers, and ensure faster care for Canadians, including mental health care.
Under this agreement, Ontario will continue to deliver on its Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care and create new primary care teams to help more people connect to family doctors. With more family doctors, as well as nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, and social workers, health teams will ensure families can access timely, quality primary care. This will also help reduce backlogs for surgeries and wait times in emergency rooms while improving access to care for patients without a family doctor, especially in rural, remote, and underserved areas.
To fill health care shortages, Ontario will add hundreds of new family physicians and nurse practitioners, as well as thousands of new nurses and personal support workers. Enrollment in health care education programs will be expanded by over 700 spots – including over 70 in Northern Ontario. To keep building the talent for the future, Ontario will support students with tuition fees, help practising professionals gain new skills, and bring more health workers into the field.
The agreement will also make it easier for Canadian and internationally trained doctors and health professionals to practise in Ontario, so they spend less time dealing with red tape and more time helping patients in need. This includes removing barriers to foreign credential recognition, simplifying licensing processes, and increasing program access for highly educated and skilled health professionals. The Province will modernize digital infrastructure – from information reporting, to collection, to sharing. By expanding the availability of electronic health information and increasing the number of health care professionals who can securely access and share this information, health care will be more convenient, connected, and patient-centred.
Mental health is a central pillar of this important investment. Ontario will add five new Youth Wellness Hubs to the 22 that have opened since 2020, making it faster and easier for youth to connect to much needed mental health and substance use services in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. The Province will also continue to expand its Structured Psychotherapy Program, helping thousands more Ontarians get timely help for depression or anxiety through free cognitive behavioural therapy and other related supports.
The federal and provincial governments will engage and work with Indigenous Peoples to address gaps and systemic inequities in Indigenous health care services and improve access to culturally safe care. Under the agreement, funds will go to Ontario’s Support for Indian Residential Schools Burials Funding program, which provides culturally safe mental health supports to Survivors of residential schools, families, and communities. As we move forward on the shared path of reconciliation, safe and timely health care is a priority for Indigenous communities.
This investment is part of the Government of Canada’s larger work to invest over $200 billion to improve health care, including funding through tailored bilateral agreements with provinces and territories. The agreement with Ontario is the fifth agreement announced, after British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, and Nova Scotia. Through the agreement announced today, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario will deliver better results for patients, support health care workers, and protect our health care system now and into the future.
“Canadians value our universal public health care system, but recently this system hasn’t been living up to its promise. That’s why we’re signing agreements with provinces and territories to help ensure Canadians can access reliable, timely, and safe health care. Today’s agreement with Ontario will increase access to family doctors, reduce backlogs, increase the workforce, and make the health care system work better. Let’s give Canadians the quality health care they expect and deserve.”
— The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
“This new ten-year agreement will help support our ongoing work in Ontario to connect more people to convenient care close to home. Right across the province, we’re making historic investments in health care to build more hospitals, bring on more doctors and nurses, expand home and community care, and reduce wait times. We look forward to continuing working with our federal partners to ensure Ontarians get the health care they need and deserve.”
— The Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
“Making sure everyone in Canada can get health care when they need it is a big promise and it’s something Canadians deserve. People are relying on all levels of government to work together and address the challenges in front of us. Reaching this agreement and action plan is a significant step in our collaboration with Ontario to take measurable action to improve our health care system. Together with all provinces and territories, we will continue working to achieve better health outcomes for everyone.”
— The Hon. Mark Holland, Minister of Health
“Today’s agreement demonstrates our steadfast commitment to making mental health and substance use services an integral part of our universal health care system. Through this agreement, Ontario will be able to deliver more integrated youth mental health and psychotherapy services to people throughout the province. We will continue to work together to ensure all Canadians have access to supports and services for their mental health and well-being – when they need them, wherever they need them.”
— The Hon. Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
“Ontario is making historic investments to help improve the patient experience through Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care. As we continue to put our bold plan into action, today’s agreement will complement our ongoing work to ensuring Ontarians have unparalleled access to convenient care in their communities, no matter where they live.”
— The Hon. Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
“This agreement will provide welcome support for our ongoing work to rebuild and modernize Ontario’s mental health and addictions system. We are improving the quality of services across the province, lowering barriers to access, and collaborating with partners to develop innovative and culturally appropriate solutions to close gaps in care. Our government is building a continuum of care that is based on treatment and recovery, and we will continue to make effective, evidence-based investments that connect more people to crucial mental health and addictions supports, closer to home.”
— The Hon. Michael Tibollo, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
This document is also available at https://pm.gc.ca
SOURCE Prime Minister’s Office
For further information: PMO Media Relations: email@example.com