Government Releases Fall Economic Statement & Priorities for Investment and Policy Change in Ontario

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips released the 2019 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: A Plan to Build Ontario Together  on November 6, 2019.  This economic update maintains the government's commitment to balance the budget by 2023-24 through prudent fiscal management while making strategic investments in public services, and strengthening the conditions for job creation. 

View the News Release. 

A Plan to Build Ontario Together  provides an update on government performance and achievement of financial and economic goals and re-states government commitments and outlines key priorities and planned initiatives.

Implications for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists will be interested to read about continuing and planned commitments to advance the province’s health, social and education systems.  Provincial policy and funding is the most significant impact on the practice of occupational therapy in Ontario.

While as an Ontarian and tax payer, all sections of the update may be of interest, Chapter 1, Section E, Building Healthier and Safer Communities will be of particular interest.  View content relating to investments in healthcare, ending hallway medicine, autism services, accessibility, long-term care, modernizing homecare, emergency health care, mental health and addictions and more…including;

  • Investment in and launch of Ontario Health Teams
  • Investments in hospital to reduce hallway medicine – additional $68 million in addition to budget announcements of $384 million. This is largely directed to service enhancements
  • Investment in hospital capital projects - $17 billion over 10 years
  • Investment in new and refurbishing of LTCH beds and a commitment to a long-term care staffing strategy
  • Modernizing home and community care….additional 100,000 therapy hours and additional funding for innovative models to address transitions from hospital to home
  • Supporting innovative partnerships to provide transitional models of care to ease transitions from hospital to home
  • Piloting of new models for 911 services – e.g. delivery to alternatives to hospital, on-scene treatment, referrals to health care professionals
  • Priority on mental health services for first responders (PTSD)
  • Mental Health services with a focus on child & youth serices, mental health supports in schools, more consumption and treatment services sites across the province, community mental health services, justice system, indigenous, etc.
  • Development of new Centre of Excellence for Mental Health
  • Digital health strategy – virtual care models, data collection, patient access to records
  • Developing a seniors strategy
  • Engaging a new needs based autism program
  • Launch of new certification program with Rick Hansen Foundation to provide accessibility ratings of building
  • Supporting inclusion and accessibility with new accessibility centre
  • Committing to auto insurance reform

    OSOT encourages members to monitor health system priorities and proposed changes and advancements.  This enables members to position their services to best support emerging priorities and system needs and to thrive in our complex health system.

    OSOT and its sector Teams continue to monitor and inform members of health policy and funding issues that will affect OT practice in the province.  Watch for your Monthly Updates to keep apprised.