SCARBOROUGH — The Ontario government is providing over $1.2 billion to help Ontario’s public hospitals recover from financial pressures created and worsened by COVID-19. This investment will ensure hospitals can continue to provide the high-quality patient care Ontarians need and deserve.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board.
“Hospitals have been at the centre of the pandemic from day one providing excellent care for our sick and vulnerable, and responding to the various outbreaks without hesitation,” said Premier Ford. “Clearly, this additional care comes at a cost, so as a government we must step up and support them. We need to ensure that our hospitals remain viable and are there for people long after COVID-19 has been beaten.”
To ensure Ontario’s hospitals remain on stable financial footing at a critical time, $696.6 million in funding will be allocated to help cover historic working funds deficits for qualifying public hospitals, with a focus on small, medium as well as specialty and rehabilitation hospitals that carry a large fiscal strain due to their unique situations and historical funding challenges.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all hospitals have felt financial challenges not only through direct costs, but also through the loss of other forms of revenue such as co-payments for private rooms and the reduction of retail services, all of which contribute to patient care and support clinical services. In order to help address these fiscal challenges the province is setting aside $572.3 million to reimburse qualifying portions of these losses.
“Ontario’s hospitals have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and our government is using every tool at our disposal to support them during these unprecedented times,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This funding will ensure Ontario’s hospitals can continue to provide high-quality care to all Ontarians as we work together to stop the spread of this virus.”
The pandemic has put pressure on the health care sector and amplified pre-existing problems. Ontario currently spends more on Ontario’s public hospitals than it receives in federal funding. The Ontario government will continue to work in collaboration with the federal government, and with other provinces and territories to ensure the Canada Health Transfer is increased and Ontarians get the quality health care they deserve.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario’s government has been working with its hospital partners to create unprecedented capacity and be ready to respond to any scenario. The government remains committed to supporting hospitals so that they can continue to care for Ontarians today and in the future.
“Our priority since the start of the pandemic has been clear – protecting people’s health. That means ensuring hospitals and the health care system have the capacity they need to care for people,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board. “Supporting hospitals is part of our plan to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe, during COVID-19 and beyond.”
Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. On March 24th the government will release the 2021 Ontario Budget. It will focus on protecting people’s health, with a plan to defeat COVID-19, and support people and jobs.