Health care consistently ranks as a major concern for Canadians, and Ontario is no exception. People expect to have fair access to high-quality health care. This can only be achieved by a system that is well planned, efficiently operated and adequately funded. Residents are increasingly looking to their local municipal councils to represent the community’s concerns about health care provided by institutions, health care professionals and the province.

Municipal governments and District Social Service Administrative Boards play important roles in the health-care system: co-funding it, delivering services, and employing professionals of vital services such as public health, land ambulance, and long-term care homes. This role is often overlooked by the Province. Municipal governments also step in to fill the gaps when needed, especially services for the most vulnerable in their community. Many municipal governments fund above their required cost-share to address community needs. As such, municipalities need to be treated as funding governments, not as stakeholders, in planning how to deliver services that meet the needs of local communities.

Image of chart showing Municipal contributions to health operating expenses $ in millions
In addition to direct services, municipal governments are also expected to fund a portion of capital expenses for hospitals, long-term care, and public health. Currently capital funding for new hospitals is shared between the Province and municipal governments at 90% and 10% respectively. Municipal governments often contribute beyond the required 10% to cover additional costs. This is a major challenge for municipal governments, particularly rural, small urban, and northern municipalities. In these less affluent jurisdictions, municipal governments struggle to raise sufficient funds to provide their communities with desperately needed hospitals. This creates significant inequities in access to healthcare across the province.

Health care is the Province’s jurisdiction and responsibility. The Province needs to take on a greater role and provide adequate funding for the operation of hospitals and fund all of the capital costs for new hospitals and major capital repairs to ensure that people receive the care they need within their communities.  

Image of chart showing Municipal contributions to health capital expenses $ in millions
 
Municipal governments and the provincial government can work to achieve fair access to high-quality and cost-effective health care for all Ontarians. Municipal governments are co-funders of health services and well positioned on the ground to provide meaningful input into healthcare planning and local operations.

In the fall, AMO will release a health policy discussion paper with our proposals on how to improve outcomes for people and communities through changes to funding, governance, and delivery.