Provincial economic and fiscal update: Significant health sector funding

March 26, 2020 | Karima Kanani, Kristen Vandenberg

Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update) – linked here (the “Action Plan”) was released yesterday and is intended to provide “a prudent one‐year outlook based on current economic projections”.

The Action Plan has been released instead of the previously-anticipated full provincial Budget due to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy.

The Action Plan includes $3.3 billion in additional health care funding in 2020-21, including significant resources to support Ontario’s health care system in responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • $1.0 billion COVID-19 contingency fund for emerging needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • $935 million for the hospital sector, including $594 million to accelerate progress on the government’s commitment to address capacity issues, and $341 million for an additional 1,000 acute care and 500 critical care beds and 25 additional assessment centres at hospitals;
  • $160 million in public health funding to support COVID-19 monitoring, surveillance, and laboratory and home testing, as well as investments in virtual care and Telehealth Ontario;
  • $243 million for surge capacity in the long-term care sector, as well as funding for 24/7 screening, more staffing to support infection control, and supplies and equipment to assist in COVID-19 prevention and containment; and
  • $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to front-line staff.

The Action Plan also includes other key initiatives for the health sector:

  • An across‐the‐board increase for all public hospitals;
  • Operating funding for newly opened beds and facility expansions to: help hospitals meet the challenges of a growing population, increase access to highly specialized and innovative treatments, and to tackle hallway health care;
  • Annualized investments in small‐ and medium‐sized and multi‐site hospitals to help address hallway health care;
  • Targeted investments to build hospital and community capacity in Durham, Scarborough and London three regions with among the highest levels of hallway health care;
  • Additional investments to improve the quality of care and resident experience, and address recommendations from the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long‐Term Care Homes System; and
  • Continued investment in municipal land ambulance operations to improve coordination and enhance patient care.

Minister Phillips has indicated he intends to introduce a multi-year Budget to the Ontario Legislature no later than November 15, 2020.

Miller Thomson’s Health Industry Group is continuing to monitor developments related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and provide timely updates. We remain on call to answer your questions and support your legal needs as we all deal with the uncertainties of the impact of COVID-19.

 

Miller Thomson is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure that we provide our clients with appropriate support in this rapidly changing environment. For articles, information updates and firm developments, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.

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