TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing an additional $3.3 billion to support frontline health care workers and increase health care capacity in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding will allow the province to take immediate action to increase the number of assessment centres, add more acute care and critical care beds, improve testing and provide more protective equipment for frontline workers.
Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID‑19 includes $2.1 billion in new and urgent funding to combat and contain the spread of COVID-19, as well as $1.2 billion to continue the government's long-term plan to build a health care system that is there for patients when and where they need it.
"Our government will spare no expense to protect the health and safety of our frontline health care workers," said Premier Doug Ford. "They're always looking out for us and our government is looking out for them. We'll do everything within our power to ensure our frontlines workers have the necessary resources to take down COVID-19 and keep individuals and families safe."
"These are extraordinary times that demand extraordinary measures," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Ontario's historic investments to dramatically expand hospital capacity and support the heroes working on the frontlines of our health care system will ensure we are able to respond to the growing challenge of COVID-19 and protect the health and wellbeing of all Ontarians."
"COVID-19 is an extraordinary threat to the health and economy of Ontario - the greatest we've faced in my lifetime," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "Our number one priority is, and will remain, the health and safety of the people of Ontario, which is why our government will allocate an additional $3.3 billion dollars for health care this year. We are all so proud of the health care professionals on the frontlines of this global pandemic. They can be confident that, whatever happens, they will have the resources they need to protect the people of Ontario."
The new investments in Ontario's health care system include:
- Investing $935 million more in hospitals, including $594 million to continue working on expanding capacity and $341 million to prepare for COVID-19 with an additional 1,000 acute care and 500 critical care beds and to fund assessment centres.
- Increasing public health funding by $160 million to support COVID-19 monitoring and testing, including investments in virtual care and Telehealth Ontario.
- Investing $243 million for surge capacity in long-term care facilities, 24/7 screening of staff and visitors, more staffing to support infection control and additional supplies and equipment.
- Investing $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to frontline staff.
- Dedicating $1 billion COVID-19 contingency fund, as part of the additional health care investments.
- This $3.3 billion investment includes the government’s initial $304 million announcement to immediately respond to the outbreak, including funding for new assessment centres, screening and testing, and protection for frontline workers and first responders.
- A new website, Ontario Together, will help the government partner with Ontario’s manufacturing sector to meet the challenges of the COVID 19 outbreak and redirect resources towards the production of essential equipment such as ventilators, masks and swabs.