Ontario Budget Summary

April 11, 2019
The CSMLS represents approximately 4,000 laboratory professionals in the province of Ontario.  To help keep our members informed on the health care decisions that may impact them, we would like to highlight the following items from today’s budget announcement.

CSMLS is committed to ensuring the lab community has a voice whenever health care policy decisions are being made. CSMLS will continue to work with all levels of Government as part of our ongoing advocacy efforts on your behalf.

Please note that the language below is taken directly from the budget. CSMLS takes a non-partisan approach and works with all political parties.  The statements below are not intended as an indication of support for these policies.

Measures related to health care and laboratory science:
From budget (page 110):

the government is moving forward with changes to health care delivery in Ontario by making the system easier to navigate and shifting health care dollars from the bureaucracy to front-line care. Moving towards an integrated health care delivery model, Ontario Health Teams will improve transitions in care and reduce waitlists for services.

With the Province’s support and guidance, these Ontario Health Teams will organize care delivery according to the needs of their local communities, thereby allowing groups of health care providers, such as hospitals, physicians, mental health professionals, and home and community care providers, to coordinate the care requirements in their area as a single team of providers. Early adopters will be announced in summer 2019, and province wide implementation is expected in 2020.

To coordinate health care delivery oversight, reduce health care bureaucracy and regional administration silos even further, the government will continue the process of consolidating six existing Provincial health agencies and the … Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) into a new, single agency. The new agency, Ontario Health, will strengthen what’s working by bringing resources together to assess ideas and successes that can be used to improve other programs and care for patients. 

The government will also:
  • Implement a digital first for health strategy that will increase the use of virtual care and give the people of Ontario digital tools to access their own personal health information; and
  • Create a centralized procurement system to better manage the purchasing of products and devices for hospitals, home and community care, and long‐term care. Through an integrated health sector supply chain that builds on current, successful models, the inconsistent fragmented system will be transformed into a coordinated one, aligned under the oversight of a single authority — Ontario Health.
Modernizing Ontario’s Public Health Units 
From budget (page 119)

As part of its vision for organizing Ontario public health, the government will, as first steps in 2019–20:
  • Improve public health program and back‐office efficiency and sustainability while providing consistent, high‐quality services, be responsive to local circumstances and needs by adjusting provincial–municipal cost‐sharing of public health funding; and 
  • Streamline the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion to enable greater flexibility with respect to non‐critical standards based on community priorities.
The government will also:
  • Establish 10 regional public health entities and 10 new regional boards of health with one common governance model by 2020–21;
  • Modernize Ontario’s public health laboratory system by developing a regional strategy to create greater efficiencies across the system and reduce the number of laboratories; and
  • Protect what matters most by ensuring public health agencies focus their efforts on providing better, more efficient front‐line care by removing back‐office inefficiencies through digitizing and streamlining processes.
Expanding the Scope of Practice for Health Professions for Faster, More Patient-Centred Care

To support the government’s vision for a health care system that enhances access to services and the patient experience, the government will enable regulated health professionals to use their education and training more effectively by expanding the scope of practice for certain regulated health professionals, such as pharmacists, nurse practitioners, dental specialists and optometrists.

These changes will improve convenience for patients by reducing the time spent travelling between providers for multiple visits for diagnostic tests and routine care and treatment, and help doctors, nurses and other health care professionals provide better, faster health care for patients and their families.

By reducing regulatory barriers to accessing up‐to‐date drug therapies, for example, health care providers will have more treatment options for their patients, thereby alleviating the need to make referrals to other providers, who can then focus their time and attention on patients with more serious and/or complex conditions.
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