TORONTO, March 23, 2023 — Ontario’s doctors are pleased to see progress being made in today’s provincial budget on some of our key recommendations for fixing the health-care system, including expanding mental health care and addressing the doctor shortage.
Provisions in today’s provincial budget align with all five pillars in the Ontario Medical Association’s roadmap for the future, Prescription for Ontario: Doctors’ 5-Point Plan for Better Health Care.
“We have spent the last three years coping with a global pandemic, trying to protect our patients, our communities, our families and our economy,” said OMA President Dr. Rose Zacharias. “This is the first opportunity we have had to pause and think how to fix the cracks that existed in the health-care system before COVID and were made worse by the pandemic. Ontario’s doctors have solutions to these problems, and we’re pleased to see the government is listening.”
Dr. Zacharias said that fixing Ontario’s health-care system will not be quick, easy or cheap, but this budget is on the right track. Accessing primary care, reducing the administrative burden on physicians and dealing with burnout remain challenges for the profession and the OMA will continue to work with the government on solutions.
Dr. Zacharias applauded the $425 million investment in mental health and addictions services over three years. More than one million Ontarians experience mental health and addictions challenges every year and that number is expected to grow as the impacts of the pandemic become more apparent.
The OMA also welcomed the creation of 100 new spots for medical students and 154 new spots for medical residents, including Ontarians studying abroad, especially given the shortage of family doctors in Ontario. The OMA urged the government to move quickly on the budget provision to assess up to 50 internationally trained physicians; those who are qualified could begin seeing patients as early as this summer or fall.
“This budget is very much aligned with our Prescription for Ontario,” said OMA CEO Allan O’Dette. “It demonstrates that working collaboratively to improve health care for our families, our neighbours and our communities is possible. We want to thank the government for listening to Ontario’s doctors and incorporating our solutions.”
The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000-plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario’s health-care system.
For more information, please contact:
Leslie Shepherd, OMA Director of Earned and Social Media