Ontario Investing in a Stronger Public Health Sector

Province also increasing funding to municipalities to connect people to paramedics and ambulance services faster

Image of Sylvia Jones making an announcement on stronger public health sectors.

LONDON — The Ontario government is taking an important step forward to deliver on Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care by increasing provincial funding for public health agencies to build a robust public health sector that has the support and resources needed to connect people to faster, more convenient care in their communities.

Starting January 1, 2024, the province will restore $47 million in provincial annual base funding for public health units, which is the level previously provided under the 75 per cent provincial / 25 per cent municipal cost-share ratio. The province is also providing local public health units an annual one per cent funding increase over the next, three years so they can more effectively plan ahead and prepare. This will also allow time for the province to collaborate with municipalities on a longer-term sustainable funding agreement that will not put any additional financial burden on municipalities.

“Building a stronger public health system, with more convenient and consistent access to public health services, is one more way our government is connecting people in Ontario to health care closer to home,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “The pandemic showed that we need a stronger public health system and this increased funding will help to create a more connected public health system that will support Ontario communities for years to come.”

The province will also work with its partners to refine and clarify the roles of local public health units, to reduce overlap of services and focus resources on improving people’s access to programs and services close to home. One-time funding, resources and supports will be offered to local public health agencies that voluntarily merge to streamline and reinvest back into expanding programs and services.

To connect people to emergency care faster and increase the availability of paramedics and ambulances in communities, Ontario is increasing land ambulance funding to municipalities by an average of six per cent, bringing the province’s total investment this year to over $811 million.

The province is also investing an additional $51 million into the Dedicated Offload Nurses Program over the next three years which helps reduce delays paramedics encounter dropping off patients at a hospital and allows them to get back out into the community faster. This investment will help 30 municipalities cover around 800,000 dedicated hours to support offloading ambulance patients in the emergency department, ensuring paramedics can get back out in the community faster.

With Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the government continues to take action to strengthen the health care system so that it is responsive and is evolving to meet the health needs and priorities of Ontarians, no matter where they live.

Quick Facts

  • Key public health lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic will inform how Ontario strengthens the public health sector, including the importance of local public health agencies having capacity to respond in a crisis, the benefit of collaboration across the health care system and the need for stability and sustainability to help local public health agencies plan for, and be able to respond to, ongoing and future crises and challenges.
  • Provincial funding for local public health agencies to support the delivery of public health programs and services has increased by approximately 16 per cent since 2018.
  • The province’s 2023 investment of $811 million in the Land Ambulance Services Grant represents an average funding increase of 11 per cent for municipalities over the last two years.
  • Nearly 200 patient care models being led by more than 50 paramedic services across the province are now approved to provide more appropriate and timely care options for eligible 9-1-1 patients in the community instead of in the emergency department.
  • Ontario is investing an additional $44 million this year in 165 high volume and smaller emergency departments to reduce wait times and provide people with faster and easier access to timely care close to home.

SOURCE: Province of Ontario

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