The Ontario Conservative government has unveiled its first budget, which they say sets out a five-year path to a balanced budget, and protects critical public services like health care.
The budget builds on the provincial government’s ongoing efforts to end, what they call, “hallway health care” by accelerating the development of 30,000 long-term care beds and delivering on mental health and addictions support.
Additionally, the budget includes a number of measures that will help improve the quality of life for Ontario seniors, which includes a new dental program.
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The government said it will invest an additional $384 million in the hospital sector as part of its efforts to end hallway health care by maintaining critical hospital capacity, increasing access to highly specialized and innovative treatments, and supporting volume growth.
An additional $267 million will be invested in home and community care.
The government also said it’s accelerating its plan to reduce hallway health care by opening 15,000 new long-term care beds and by redeveloping another 15,000 existing beds.
The province is also investing $90 million annually into a new dental program for seniors that will start by late Summer 2019.
By that time, single seniors aged 65 and older with incomes of $19,300 or less (or senior couples with combined incomes of less than $32,300), and without existing dental benefits, will be able to receive dental services in public health units, community health centres and Aboriginal Health Access Centres located throughout the province.
The government said it will also invest $3.8 billion in mental health, addictions and housing supports over the next 10 years.
Investments of $174 million in 2019–20 will support community mental health and addictions services, mental health and justice services, supportive housing, and acute mental health inpatient beds.
You can find the full 2019 budget here.