Ontario Renews Calls for Ottawa to Provide Fair Share of Health Care Funding
Additional Funding Could Help Province Increase Access to Critical Health Care Services
March 4, 2021
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TORONTO ― During a virtual news conference today Premier Doug Ford and his fellow Premiers renewed calls for the federal government to increase its share of funding for provincial and territorial health care to 35 per cent.
“Rebuilding our health system after a once-in-a-century pandemic requires an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said Premier Ford. “With wait times for backlogged surgeries growing and our long-term care homes in desperate need of more support, it’s never been more important that the federal government work with the provinces. All of the Premiers urge the Prime Minister to become a true funding partner and increase the federal government’s share of total health care spending to 35% through the Canada Health Transfer, and to maintain this level over time with a minimum annual escalator of at least 5 per cent.”
If the federal government were to increase its share of the Canada Health Transfer to 35 per cent that would provide Ontario with more than $10 billion in additional health care funding. This funding could be used to:
- Increase access to home and community care so seniors can stay in their homes longer.
- Build more long-term care beds, faster, and continue to improve the quality of care the most vulnerable receive in long-term care homes
- Address the large backlog of surgeries and procedures that has accumulated during the pandemic, and which will cost approximately $283.7 million this year and is anticipated to cost up to $300 million next year
- Improve wait times and increase access to services and procedures at hospitals, including diagnostic scans, and many types of surgeries with long wait lists
Ontario has taken decisive action to end hallway health care, hire more staff, reduce waitlists and ensure more people get access to health services. The government invested $594 million in 2020-21 to address longstanding capacity issues and wait times in hospitals, including adding up to 64,000 additional MRI and 45,000 additional CT operating hours and funding additional surgeries including cardiac, cancer and cataract procedures.
To protect the most vulnerable seniors, Ontario has made improvements and investments in long-term care, including investing over $6 billion in 2020-21 alone. To help more seniors remain in the comfort of their own homes and communities, Ontario is providing 32.6 million hours of personal support services, about 9.2 million nursing and therapy visits and 2.5 million nursing shifts.
“I stand ready to work with the Prime Minister to ensure all Canadians get the health care they need,” said Premier Ford. “We’re doing our part in Ontario and it is time for the federal government to come to the table with a significantly larger share of funding so Canadians can get the care they need and deserve.”
- Health care accounted for nearly 42 per cent of Ontario’s program spending in 2019-20 – it is the biggest category of expenditure in the Ontario budget.
- It is estimated that it will take approximately 2.5-3.5 years for hospitals operating at between 110 to 120 percent above normal surgical operations to catch up on elective surgeries. The largest wait lists are for orthopedic and eye surgeries.
- Under the original Medical Care Act passed in 1966, the federal government covered 50 per cent of eligible hospital and physician expenses. Today, the federal share has fallen to 22 per cent of total provincial-territorial health spending.
- Without action, the federal share of health care funding will decline to less than 18 per cent by 2040. The current health care funding gap of $28 billion nationally is expected to grow until it reaches $80 billion a year by 2039-40, and over $30 billion for Ontario.
- Between 2017-18 and 2020-21, the cost to deliver Ontario’s top five health priorities (Hospitals, OHIP, Drug Programs, Long-Term Care, and Home and Community Care) grew by $13.2 billion.