Health and Social Services Funding Gap in GTA/905 Continues to Widen



    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 18 /CNW/ - GTA/905 residents are still falling
further behind the rest of Ontario in terms of the provincial funding for
local hospital care and social services according to a report issued today by
the Strong Communities Coalition.
    The update report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), finds that
each GTA/905 resident receives $218 less for social services than the average
Ontarian which translates into total funding gap of $708.2 million - an
increase in the total operating gap for social services of $156.7 million or
33% from 2003/04 to 2005/06.
    Further, the report finds that for hospital care, each GTA/905 resident
receives $221 less than the average Ontarian for local hospital care which
translates into a $944 million annual funding gap. Data in the report shows
that the hospital funding gap grew by $348.9 million between 2003/04 and
2007/08 and average of 14.6% each year.
    The report, Assessing the Gap in Health and Social Services Funding
Between the GTA/905 and the Rest of Ontario: An Update, was prepared by PwC
using most recent provincial health care and social services funding
information. It concludes that, "there is still a sizeable gap in both health
and social services annual operating funding between the GTA/905 and the rest
of Ontario and the gaps are getting wider as population growth continues to
outstrip provincial funding".
    "While we certainly welcome commitments to begin providing growth funding
for hospitals and health care, these commitments must not only translate into
providing adequate and annual growth funding, but in fairness and given the
growing needs, similar commitments should also be provided to social services
in the GTA/905 and other high growth communities," said Anne McGuire, Chair of
the GTA/905 Healthcare Alliance, a member of the Strong Communities Coalition.
"To truly meet the hospital, healthcare and social services needs of our
rapidly growing communities and ensure timely access to health care and social
services close to home, steps taken towards developing a new provincial
funding formula for health care, while promising, need to be extended to
social services and most importantly must ensure that the
population-needs-based funding forms the foundation of any new provincial
funding formula."
    "Building a strong, vibrant and prosperous community is more than just
physical infrastructure. Beyond public transit, facilities and roads,
residents in high growth communities, like all other Ontarians, need equitable
access to local health care and social services and sufficient human services
operating funding if they are to thrive and contribute to their communities
and the economy," said Shelley White, CEO of United Way of Peel and a member
of the Strong Communities Coalition. "We have to remember that providing local
health and social services in GTA/905 communities is an investment that pays
dividends many times over."

    The Strong Communities Coalition is an alliance of the United Ways in
Peel, York, Durham and Oakville and the GTA/905 Healthcare Alliance with the
support of York Region Human Services Planning Coalition and the Peel Fair
Share Task Force. The Coalition's goal is to improve local and timely access
to comprehensive and quality health care and social services in the GTA/905
regions of Durham, Halton, Peel and York.

    The report, Assessing the Gap in Health and Social Services Funding
Between the GTA/905 and the Rest of Ontario: An Update, can be found by
accessing the Strong Communities Coalition's website at:
www.strongcommunitiescoalition.org.




For further information:

For further information: Paola Arci at (416) 205-1331

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STRONG COMMUNITIES COALITION

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