Ontario Building a Stronger, More Resilient Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Program

Ontario Building a Stronger, More Resilient Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Program

Province investing $5 million to begin creating a more consistent, provincewide program for adult patients of all ages

April 12, 2022


WHITBY — As part of its plan to build a stronger, more resilient health care system that can better respond to patient needs, the Ontario government is investing up to $5 million to establish a new, comprehensive community post-stroke rehabilitation program for adult stroke patients of all ages. This year’s initial investment will be followed by ongoing investments in the future to ensure that all Ontarians have access to high-quality post-stroke care in their community once they leave a hospital.

“Developing a comprehensive community post-stroke rehabilitation program is another way our government is building a stronger, more resilient health care system so that patients of all ages can focus on getting better,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This investment is a critical step towards providing better rehabilitation care for those who suffered a stroke and ensuring equitable access to the high-quality care they need in their community.”

Currently, access to post-stroke therapies varies across the province and patients are often left to coordinate their own care. A provincewide community post-stroke rehabilitation program would ensure consistent access to these important therapies for all adults regardless of their age or where they live. This is especially important for younger adults who often require comprehensive post-stroke rehabilitation care to address challenges such as returning to work and driving.

As a first step to developing the new community post-stroke rehabilitation program, the government has asked Ontario Health to assess the current state of community stroke rehabilitation services and map access points to these services. This will help identify immediate opportunities to improve access to coordinated post-stroke care by leveraging existing resources developed in collaboration with sector partners. In this first year, up to $1.6 million will be used to support patient services based on the results of Ontario Health’s initial needs assessment and help make community programs more accessible to Ontarians, while also building on best practices.

“Most patients who experience a stroke will require access to comprehensive interprofessional stroke rehabilitation services after their hospital stay,” said Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health. “This investment will ensure we can effectively meet the needs of stroke patients. We will work with our many stakeholders to increase access to appropriate and timely rehabilitation for people who have experienced a stroke, increasing their level of independence and opportunity for community re-engagement, and overall quality of life.”

Ontario Health will also work closely with the province on a standardized provincial data collection approach to capture the total number of stroke patients who access outpatient rehabilitation services. This information will help shape the provincewide program and ensure that it addresses the needs of patients.

Over 25,000 Ontarians experience a stroke every year and more than 300,000 currently live with the consequences of stroke. Most stroke patients require intensive interprofessional stroke rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy. These therapies can significantly reduce a patient’s risk of further hospitalization and increase their level of independence and improve their outcomes, allowing them to achieve the best possible quality of life.

Quick Facts

  • Stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when blood stops flowing to any part of a person’s brain and damages brain cells. Common signs of a stroke include sudden drooping in a person’s face, an inability to raise both arms and slurred speech.
  • Although strokes are often associated with the elderly, younger adults can also experience strokes. In 2018-19, approximately 27 per cent of hospitalizations and emergency department visits related to strokes were by patients under the age of 65 years old.
  • Ontario currently offers inpatient rehabilitation in some acute hospital settings, rehabilitation hospitals, and limited rehabilitation in other health care settings, such as the community, including home care.
  • On December 1, 2021, CorHealth Ontario transferred into Ontario Health to support the provision of cardiac, stroke, and vascular care in the province, better supporting health care providers with the tools and information they need to enhance care for patients and improve clinical outcomes.


“Today’s investment will give hope to those stroke patients who are struggling to make it all the way back through their participation in a comprehensive post-stroke community rehabilitation program. The late President John F. Kennedy once said, one person can make a difference, and everyone should try. Thank you to Minister Elliott for being that difference in the lives of thousands of post-stroke recovery patients in our great province.”

– Lorne Coe
MPP for Whitby and Chief Government Whip

“Closing the Gap Healthcare celebrates the wisdom displayed to address community post-stroke rehabilitation as a priority. CTG is pleased to participate in this comprehensive multi-year project to improve and modernize post-stroke community rehabilitation, thereby benefitting at least 300,000 individuals in Ontario. A standardized approach utilizing ‘Best Practices’ and a common set of metrics will improve the health outcomes of each and every patient, post-stroke. The health system can improve a patient’s journey towards achieving and maintaining safe independence in the community through access to rehabilitation professionals in their home or at a publicly funded clinic. The project will ensure that the role of each professional involved in the patient’s recovery is integrated and valued.”

– Connie Clerici
Founder and Board Executive Chair, Closing the Gap Healthcare

“Rehabilitation is integral to recovery. Whether they are delivered in community settings or at home, stroke rehabilitation programs help those who experience stroke regain independence and have a better quality of life. These programs also reduce hospital stays and health care costs. Heart & Stroke applauds the Government of Ontario for taking steps to improve access to these vital services.”

– Liz Scanlon
Director, Health Policy and Systems, Ontario, Heart & Stroke

“Rehabilitation is an essential part of recovery following stroke that improves health outcomes, reduces disability and helps individuals regain function and independence. The Rehabilitative Care Alliance is pleased to be a system partner supporting this important work.”

– Charissa Levy
Executive Director, Rehabilitative Care Alliance

Additional Resources


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Media Contacts

Alexandra Hilkene
Minister Elliott’s Office

Anna Miller
Communications Division