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  • Writer's pictureRob Ferguson

Ontario budget pours $2B into home care, but critics say it ignores long ER wait times

But critics said it doesn't put enough new cash into the health-care system to shorten long emergency room wait times or help people find a family doctor

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Steve Russell/Toronto Star. Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy answers questions prior delivering the 2024 budget in the Ontario Legislature on March 26, 2024.

Ontario is earmarking an extra $2 billion to expand home and community care over the next three years as the population ages and employers struggle to recruit workers in a traditionally low-paid sector.

But critics said Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy's budget doesn't put enough new cash into the health-care system to shorten long emergency room wait times or help enough Ontarians find a family doctor.

The infusion for home care is on top of the Ford government's $1 billion boost two years ago to "stabilize" the workforce and provide more services to seniors growing older in their own homes with the help of personal support workers, nurses and others.

Bethlenfalvy's additional funding will bolster assisted living and meal services, transportation and to strengthen day programs for seniors.

"I don't know too many people who don't want to age at home with their loved ones and familiar surroundings," Bethlenfalvy said at a news conference. 

"A big chunk of this money is going to be supporting the wages and recruiting and retaining more health-care workers."


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