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York Region gets $15M funding boost to health services

'We are laying the groundwork for a longer-term approach to sustainable funding for renewed and strengthened public health sector,' Newmarket-Aurora MPP says
Sept. 18, 2023
Joseph Quigley

The Ontario government is giving York Region a nearly $15-million funding boost to its health services.

The province will be granting additional funding to the region’s public health and ambulatory services, in addition to $2.4 million in funding for a nursing program that will enable the hiring of nurses to assist in offloading ambulances.

Newmarket-Aurora MPP Dawn Gallagher Murphy made the announcement Sept. 15 in Newmarket.

“These investments represent the underpinning of our government's work to ensure accessible, sustainable and resilient health care in Ontario,” Gallagher Murphy said, adding that the funding announcement “represents another important step for us to achieve that goal.”

The new $15 million in funding includes an approximately seven per cent increase in land ambulance funding, approximately $2.4 million for offloading, a previously announced increase in base funding to York Region Public Health, as well as one-time $5.7 million in funding for public health.

“We are laying the groundwork for a longer-term approach to sustainable funding for renewed and strengthened public health sector,” Gallagher Murphy said.

York Region Paramedic Services Chief Chris Spearen expressed appreciation to Gallagher Murphy and said she does listen to their needs.

“The funding is vital for improving patient outcomes and ensuring response time targets are met,” Spearen said, adding that the off-load nursing program is a particularly good initiative. “Offload delay is one of the key elements that provides risk in our services. Being able to get our paramedics out of the hospital, back into the community and ready to respond in a timely manner is really critical.”

The province previously announced a funding boost over three years for offloading nursing programs, with 30 municipalities across Ontario getting these programs, up from 27 last year.

Dignitaries from throughout the region attended the announcement in Newmarket, including MPPs and members of regional council.
York Region chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson said the public does not always appreciate how much the region delivers in terms of services.

“We do the heavy lifting,” Emmerson said. “These are the kinds of things that York Region does. They continue to help our residents going forward, so it’s critical we continue on our role we do. But access to consistently high-quality public health service is fundamental.

“As we saw throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our frontline healthcare workers are a critical component of the integrated healthcare system,” Emmerson further said adding that today’s announcement “really reinforces the important work of our highly trained, skilled and dedicated public health workers, paramedics and nurses.”