The Ontario government announced it is investing an additional $330 million each year in pediatric health services to connect children and youth to more convenient and high-quality care close to home at hospitals, clinics and community-based health care facilities across Ontario. With this new investment, over 100 high-priority initiatives will be quickly implemented to ensure children and youth in every corner of the province can connect to emergency care, surgeries, ambulatory services, diagnostic imaging, and mental health services.
Premier Doug Ford made the announcement during a visit to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, which was followed by a visit to Ronald McDonald House on the CHEO campus. The Premier was joined by Ontario Health Minister and Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones, along with other members of the Progressive Conservative Caucus including Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari and Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod.
“This new funding will provide our frontline health care partners with the tools they need to immediately provide more children with the care they need close to home,” said Premier Ford. “We’re tackling wait times, adding new beds, and building up our health care workforce to ensure everyone in Ontario, including and especially our children and youth, have access to the care they need, when and where they need it.”
This consistent and stable funding increase will also allow pediatric hospitals to make significant increases to staffing to ensure they have the people and resources needed to prevent backlogs and improve access to care.
“Our record investments are making it easier and faster for Ontarians of all ages to connect to the care they need closer to home,” said Minister Jones. “Increasing our investments for pediatric services will ensure children and youth in Ontario can depend on a strong health care system that is there for them now and in the future.”
Some examples of the over 100 initiatives across the province include:
- hiring more pediatric surgical staff to increase the number of additional day surgeries and increase access to diagnostic imaging for children;
- increasing the number of people that can be seen, triaged and cared for on-site in emergency departments by investing in rapid access clinics that people can access instead of going to emergency departments during respiratory illness season;
reducing wait times for children and youth to connect to mental health services in hospitals and community settings, including indigenous youth mental health programs and adding eight new youth wellness hubs to the 14 that are already operating in communities across Ontario to help fill the gap in youth addictions services and deliver a range of other services, such as vocational support, education services, housing and recreation and wellness;
increasing access to both psychosocial supports for kids with cancer and eating disorder programs in hospitals and community settings, and expanding intensive live-in treatment programs for children with complex mental health issues; and
implementing an immunization catch-up program for children and youth in Eastern Ontario with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Public Health.
This investment includes up to $45 million from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for children’s rehabilitation services, including occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language services. The additional funding will also help providers hire and retain more staff to reduce wait times to give children and families more timely access to clinical assessments, early intervention and school-based rehabilitation for children with special needs.
“Our government’s significant investment in expanding pediatric care across Ontario demonstrates our dedication to the safety and well-being of children and youth,” said Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “This funding will reduce waitlists, enhance access to critical services, and ensure families receive the specialized care their children require when they need it most.”
Featured Image: Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones were joined by members of the Progressive Conservative caucus at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario last week to announce an annual $330 million increase in pediatric health care.