2016 Ontario Budget recognizes value of home and community care
Providers still struggle to meet growing demand with limited funding
TORONTO, February 26, 2016 – The Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) welcomes the 2016 Ontario Budget’s continued investment in home and community care. However, as the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care embarks upon significant health system transformation, more investment will be needed to continue to provide quality care to all Ontarians.
As Ontario’s population ages and grows, our health system must make the absolute most of limited funding. In many cases, home and community care can be delivered at a fraction of the cost of hospital or long-term care. Investments in health and wellness services including in-home nursing, therapy and personal support, Meals on Wheels®, adult/Alzheimer day programs, transportation to medical appointments, respite for family caregivers, supportive housing and attendant services are effective and affordable solutions to the challenges presented by Ontario’s rising health care costs.
OCSA’s not-for-profit, community-driven member agencies multiply their impact by engaging volunteers who provide over 4 million hours of care each year, and by re-investing surplus funds back into services, rather than shareholder profit.
The 2016 budget reaffirms Ontario’s commitment to a 5% annual funding increase to the home and community support sector, an additional investment of $250 million per year, over the next two years. A new minimum wage of $16.50/hr for publically-funded personal support workers will be in place this year. Additionally, a $75 million investment in community hospice and palliative care over the next three years will fund 20 residential hospices, nearly doubling the number of people who have access to vital end-of-life care.
However, this funding is not sufficient to meet growing need as agencies are relied upon to provide more services to an older, higher-needs population, which is being discharged from hospital earlier.
“Ontarians prefer to live independently in their homes and communities for as long as possible, and we’re pleased that the government has begun to recognize the potential of these supports,” said Deborah Simon, OCSA CEO. “But health care providers are being asked to do more without a proportional increase in funding, which means they’re forced to turn clients away or charge them higher fees.”
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s recent proposal to integrate the CCACs into the LHINs is meant to improve system integration and patient care, as well as yield administrative efficiencies. Reorganization has potential to improve health equity and client care – but only if accompanied by the significant, sustained investment required to provide adequate frontline care now, while increasing capacity to ensure that Ontarians and their caregivers will have access to the services they need in the future.
Across the province each year, over one million people receive home care and community support services – and the need is growing. The Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) champions a strong, sustainable home and community support sector for all Ontarians. Our not-for-profit, community-based member organizations provide a wide variety of health and wellness services which help seniors and people with disabilities remain independent in their own homes and communities. These compassionate and cost-effective services improve quality of life and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, emergency room visits and premature institutionalization. They are the key to a sustainable health care system for Ontario. For more information, visit www.ocsa.on.ca.
Deborah Simon, CEO of the Ontario Community Support Association is available to discuss the critical role of the home and community support sector in the province’s health system, and what the Budget means for clients across Ontario.
To arrange an interview or for more information please contact:
Communications & Research Coordinator
Ontario Community Support Association
416-256-3010 x- 242 - office