Ontario Legislature Passing Important Measures

Community Comment

In August the Ontario Government introduced two pivotal pieces of legislation for the future of the province. The 2022 Ontario Budget sets out a path for future prosperity. The Plan to Stay Open legislation lays the groundwork for the recovery of Ontario’s health care system.

Regarding the budget, there are important measures that provide greater support for workers, businesses, and families. The budget is designed to foster the right business and investment climate for a full recovery from the pandemic years. It is also designed to manage the province’s finances responsibly and, in fact, will be applying higher-than-expected tax revenues in 2022-23 to lower the projected annual deficit by as much a $1.1 billion.

For residents of Kanata-Carleton there are specific initiatives to help ease the financial strain, such as the reduction of the provincial gas tax at the pump and the fuel tax for home fuel by more than five cents per litre through 2022. Also, the province’s minimum wage will be increased to $15.50 per hour on October 1st, and this wage is now extended to digital platform workers.

Regarding the new health care legislation, when the government’s plan is fully implemented it will add up to 19,000 more health care workers, including nurses and personal support workers. It will also free up over 2,500 hospital beds so that hospital care is available to those who need it.

The province is also expanding its models of care with a program that was first piloted here in our community. In October 2020, I was honoured to announce an innovative pilot community paramedicine program with the Ottawa and Renfrew Paramedic Services. With the successful implementation of the new care model by our local paramedics the government has made this approach to care a province-wide model. 

Today, Ontario is expanding the hugely successful 9-1-1 models of care to include additional conditions. It is giving paramedics the flexibility to provide better, more appropriate care.

This new approach has been developed to help avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, improve the process for ambulance offloading, and reintroduce respite services in long-term care. Patients diverted from emergency departments through these models received the care they needed up to 17 times faster with 94 per cent of patients avoiding the emergency department in the days following treatment.

The model of care will also fund community paramedicine to provide additional care for seniors in the comfort of their own homes before their admission to a long-term care home.

For more information on these pieces of legislation and any other, please contact my Community Office for all the details.