McGuinty Government Supporting Military Families



    Proposed Legislation Would Eliminate 90-Day OHIP Waiting Period for
    Military Families

    OTTAWA, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government intends to introduce
legislation that, if passed, would ensure that OHIP eligible military families
receive coverage for all provincially funded health services upon taking
residence in Ontario, Phil McNeely, MPP for Ottawa-Orléans, announced today on
behalf of Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George
Smitherman.
    "Military families deserve immediate access to high quality health care,
and I am proud that one of the first actions of our government in our new term
is to support military personnel and their families," said McNeely.
    Most new Ontario residents have a 90 day waiting period for OHIP
coverage. Approximately 26,000 Canadian Forces family members are currently
living in Ontario. By providing immediate OHIP eligibility, up to 8,500
military family members per year could benefit from earlier access to
Ontario's health care coverage.
    "We want to welcome military families into our province with the promise
that they won't have to wait for their OHIP coverage," said Smitherman. "I
also want to thank Phil McNeely for his leadership in bringing this issue
forward."
    "In particular, military families coming to Ontario from Quebec face an
additional burden because they often have to pay physician fees up front
during the waiting period," said Smitherman. "The proposed legislation would
remove this financial burden these families face when coming to Ontario."
    The proposed legislation also contains amendments to The Employment
Standards Act, 2000 that would create job protection provisions for military
reservists who are called to serve either at home or abroad.
    To ensure fairness, the McGuinty government also plans to exempt athletes
from military families from the one-year residency requirement of its Quest
for Gold Ontario Athlete Assistance Program.

    This news release, along with other media materials, such as matte
stories and audio clips, on other subjects, are available on our website at:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca under the News Media section.

    For more information on achievements in health care, visit:
www.resultsontario.gov.on.ca

    Disponible en français.


    Backgrounder
    
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         PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT MILITARY FAMILIES IN ONTARIO
    

    The McGuinty government intends to introduce legislation in support of
military families that, if passed, would exempt Ontario Health Insurance Plan
(OHIP) eligible military family members moving to Ontario from the waiting
period for OHIP coverage, and provide job protection measures for reservists
who are called into active duty. The government also plans to increase access
to funding for amateur athletes from military families.

    OHIP Eligibility

    In most cases newcomers to Ontario are subject to a 90 day waiting period
for OHIP. Canadian Forces (CF) members and their families are often required
to move around frequently and this can result in constant changes to health
coverage for these families. This burden can be reduced by exempting OHIP
eligible family members from the waiting period and providing them with
immediate access to provincially funded health care services.
    The proposed act will, if passed, eliminate the OHIP waiting period for
eligible military family members moving to Ontario. OHIP eligible spouses and
dependants of Canadian Forces members would qualify for all provincially
funded health services immediately upon becoming a resident in Ontario.
    While the proposed legislation, if passed, could benefit all OHIP
eligible military family members  who come to Ontario, it would be of special
help to families from Quebec because they often must pay fees for physician
services upfront during the waiting period before being reimbursed by the
Quebec government.

    
    Disponible en français.

                             www.health.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Laurel Ostfield, Minister's
Office, (416) 212-4048; David Jensen, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,
(416) 314-6197; Members of the general public: (416) 327-4327, or
1-866-532-3161

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