Facing funding freeze, Ontario's home and community care sector in jeopardy

2017 Budget must include investments to build capacity and protect quality of home and community care

TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2017 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) submitted its 2017 Ontario Budget recommendations, cautioning that without investment from the province, Ontario's seniors and people with disabilities or chronic illness may not receive the services they need in 2017.

The home and community support sector provides over 25 different services which help Ontarians live independently in their own homes and communities, including home care nursing, personal support services, Meals on Wheels, transportation services and adult day programs. On average, a day spent in the hospital costs $450, long-term care costs approximately $135 and home or community care costs just $45.

Increases to base funding have recently been announced for other parts of the healthcare system, including hospitals and long-term care.  However, home and community care has not received the same consideration. The majority of these agencies have not received a base funding increase in seven years. Due to budget constraints, they may be forced to close programs, increase client fees, or delay vital training, technology or quality-improvement initiatives.

Over the past few years, the province has made valuable investments in the sector. However, specific funding channeled directly into new service hours has not been accompanied by operational investments into the not-for-profit organizations that actually deliver these services. As the population ages and demand increases, many of them are reaching a breaking point. They are asking for an urgent 2% base funding increase and ongoing increases necessary to maintain these vital services.

"The provincial government has repeatedly committed to building a stronger, more sustainable healthcare system by investing in home and community care," said Deborah Simon, CEO. "It's time to follow through on their promises by lifting the base funding freeze so that these organizations can serve more Ontarians, and also grow and innovate with the changing face of healthcare. "

About OCSA

Across the province each year, over one million people receive home care and community support services – and the need is growing. OCSA represents nearly 300 not-for-profit organizations. Their compassionate, cost-effective services help Ontarians live independently and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, emergency room visits and premature institutionalization. For more information, visit www.ocsa.on.ca.

SOURCE Ontario Community Support Association

For further information: Breanne Armstrong, Communications Manager, OCSA, 416-256-3010 ext. 242, breanne.armstrong@ocsa.on.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.ocsa.on.ca

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Ontario Community Support Association

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