Government of Canada Invests $46 Million to Expand Virtual Health Care Services in Ontario
April 16, 2021 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada
Canada’s universal, publicly funded health care systems are a source of pride for Canadians. The Government of Canada is working closely with provincial and territorial governments to support them to respond to the challenges of delivering health care during the COVID-19 pandemic and as we move into recovery.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced the signature of a bilateral agreement with Ontario to enhance the province’s virtual health services. Under the agreement, the province will invest federal funding in keeping with agreed-upon pan-Canadian priorities for accelerating virtual health care services during the pandemic.
Through this bilateral agreement, Ontario is receiving $46 million to expand its efforts on virtual health care. Over the coming weeks, the province will be developing an action plan that outlines how it is investing the funding under the bilateral agreement to expand virtual health services.
“Now more than ever, Canadians need access to virtual health care to support their health. We are working with provinces and territories to support the rapid deployment of these services for Canadians, to ensure they can access the care they need, whenever they need it. Today’s investment will support Ontario in its expansion of virtual health care services, ensuring Ontarians have health services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Canada’s Minister of Health
“As we have seen more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that all provinces and territories have the resources we need to deliver high-quality virtual health care services to our people – when and where they need it. This investment will support our government’s Digital First for Health strategy to leverage digital innovations that will improve access to timely, patient-centred care for Ontarians and bring the patient experience into the twenty-first century.”
The Honourable Christine Elliott
Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
On May 3, 2020, the Prime Minister announced an investment of $240.5 million to increase access to virtual services and digital tools to support Canadians’ health and wellbeing.
$150 million of that funding will be provided to provinces and territories through targeted bilateral agreements aimed at expanding virtual health services in five priority areas for immediate action to support further embedding these services within Canadian health systems, namely:
- secure messaging and file transfer,
- secure video conferencing,
- remote patient monitoring technologies,
- patient access to their COVID-19 and other lab results, and
- back-end supports for integration and/or alignment of these new platforms or existing tools.
This funding is also in addition to the $50 million in incremental federal funding allocated to Canada Health Infoway to further support provincial and territorial efforts to rapidly implement new initiatives in keeping with the five priority areas.
Bilateral agreements on virtual care are a time-limited initiative aimed at ensuring that Canadians can continue to access the health care services they need virtually during this time of uncertainty.
Health Canada is building on this investment by working with provinces and territories on related policy issues. This will enable the longer-term adoption of high-quality and safe virtual health care services as a complement to in-person care.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
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