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Health funding aimed at taking burden off local municipalities

County receiving money as part of Last Ambulance Service Grant and the Dedicated Offload Nursing Program
File photo.

The Ontario government is taking an important step forward to deliver on Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care by increasing provincial funding for public health agencies to build a robust public health sector that has the support and resources needed to connect people to faster, more convenient care in their communities.

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, the province will restore $47 million in provincial annual base funding for public health units, which is the level previously provided under the 75 per cent provincial/25 per cent municipal cost-share ratio. The province is also providing local public health units an annual one per cent funding increase over the next, three years so they can more effectively plan ahead and prepare.

This will also allow time for the province to collaborate with municipalities on a longer-term sustainable funding agreement that will not put any additional financial burden on municipalities.

As part of this investment, the County of Simcoe will receive funding:

Last Ambulance Service Grant (LASG)

Municipality: County of Simcoe
2022 total funding: $28,412,620
2023 total funding: $29,677,813

Dedicated Offload Nursing Program (DONP)

Municipality: County of Simcoe
2022-23 total funding: $506,412
2023-24 total funding: $1,263,091

“This announcement is welcome news for residents and communities across Simcoe County and thank you to the Province of Ontario for continuing to invest in the health and well-being of our communities," said Warden Basil Clarke. “County of Simcoe Paramedic Services continually looks for ways to build up our services, improve efficiency while delivering the highest quality care possible. This more than $2 million in additional funding through the Land Ambulance Service Grant and Dedicated Offload Nursing Program funds will allow us to look for ways to do just that.”

“Building a stronger public health system, with more convenient and consistent access to public health services, is one more way our government is connecting people in Barrie, Innisfil and Simcoe County to health care closer to home,” said Andrea Khanjin, Barrie-Innisfil MPP. “This increased funding will help to create a more connected public health system that will support our community for years to come.”

“Connecting people to the care and services they require faster and closer to home is crucial for our residents. I join my local colleagues and residents in welcoming this additional funding from our government,” said Caroline Mulroney, MPP for York-Simcoe. “The Land Services Grant and Dedicated Offload Nursing Program are initiatives that will divert patients to the care they need, making sure hospital beds are available for those that need them the most.”

“Ensuring residents in the County of Simcoe have access to faster emergency care is a key part of the government’s plan to build a stronger, more robust public health system in rural Ontario,” said Jill Dunlop, MPP for Simcoe North. “These investments in the Land Ambulance Service Grant and Dedicated Offload Nurses Program will help meet evolving health needs and provide more connected, convenient care for those in the region and beyond for years to come.”

“Access to emergency care is a vital service for all Ontarians, no matter where they live,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. “By increasing funding for both the Land Ambulance Services Grant and the Dedicated Offload Nursing Program, our government is able to address the healthcare needs of all residents in a timely manner. The continued investment in these services allows Ontarians the freedom to live where they want and still access world-class healthcare, province wide.”

The province will also work with its partners to refine and clarify the roles of local public health units, to reduce overlap of services and focus resources on improving people’s access to programs and services close to home. One-time funding, resources and supports will be offered to local public health agencies that voluntarily merge to streamline and reinvest back into expanding programs and services.

To connect people to emergency care faster and increase the availability of paramedics and ambulances in communities, Ontario is increasing land ambulance funding to municipalities by an average of six per cent, bringing the province’s total investment this year to over $811 million.

The province is also investing an additional $51 million into the Dedicated Offload Nurses Program over the next three years which helps reduce delays paramedics encounter dropping off patients at a hospital and allows them to get back out into the community faster. This investment will help 30 municipalities cover around 800,000 dedicated hours to support offloading ambulance patients in the emergency department, ensuring paramedics can get back out in the community faster.

With Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the government continues to take action to strengthen the health care system so that it is responsive and is evolving to meet the health needs and priorities of Ontarians, no matter where they live.