Millions being poured into community health care

By Tracey Richardson, Sun Times, Owen Sound

Thursday, September 26, 2013 4:19:39 EDT PM

GREY-BRUCE – The province is making good on its word to put more resources into community-based health care to the tune of about $28 million for the South West LHIN.

The funding will translate into a 5% increase in base funding every year for programs like Home First, which connects elderly people admitted to hospital with 24 hour in-home support upon discharge, the new Southwestern Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Owen Sound, adult day programs and the Canadian Mental Health Association. Most of the new spending targets seniors and others with complex health needs, including those living with serious mental health issues and addictions. The ultimate goal of beefing up the programs is to cut down on hospital stays and ER visits by supporting people at home.

“This is brand new funding coming into the system,” said Michael Barrett, CEO of the South West LHIN. The LHIN board discussed the new money at its monthly board meeting Wednesday, which was held in Lion’s Head.

Almost $21 million will go into annual base funding and another $7.4 million is for one-time funding.

The government has made it clear, Barrett said, that any increased health care spending will go into the community and not hospitals. Most hospitals are no longer given an increase in annual funding, although small hospitals still get a 1% annual increase.

The intentional shift, Barrett said, “is to ensure people get care where they want it, and people want their care at home. We have fine hospitals within the South West LHIN that provide good acute care, but people do want to be at home, and this funding allows them to get that through additional home care supports.”

The Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) is the biggest single recipient of the new funding. More than $5 million alone will go the CCAC every year now to cut the wait time for personal support services for people with complex needs down to five days.

“We want to make sure that the CCAC has the ability to continue to deliver on their responsibilities, one of which is ensuring a five-day wait time for home care,” Barrett said.

The South West CCAC serves about 60,000 clients each year, with about 91% of those leaving hospital getting their first home visit within five days. The new funding is expected to improve that number.

The LHIN is also directing one-time funding to some of the following:

– 150 more knee replacements and 2,000 more hours of MRI scans.

– Improving Healthline (

– adult day programs for the brain injured.

– exercise and falls prevention classes and other falls prevention initiatives.

In response to a question from a LHIN board member about the wage discrepancies in community based care — much it is provided by personal services workers and some of it by volunteers — Barrett said the government recognizes the discrepancy but that there is no current plan to address it.

Put Food in the Budget campaign – World Hunger Day on Tuesday May 28

May 31, 2013

The Put Food in the Budget campaign organized a unique event to recognize World Hunger Day on Tuesday May 28.

The Put Food in the Budget campaign has learned over the course of our campaign that hundreds of thousands of people are hungry at every stage of life in Ontario because their income is too low. They don’t have enough money to pay the rent and buy food.

Front line workers from public service unions and student, worker and volunteer associations told an audience of high school students about people they serve that do not have enough income to provide nutritious food to their families.

The over-riding message from these stories is that people in Ontario now can literally be ‘Hungry for Life’. ‘Hungry for life’ has two meanings. Young people in high school are on the brink of beginning their adult lives. We all want our young people to thrive and to be hopeful about the future. We want them to be ‘hungry for life’ – we don’t want them to feel hopeless or to fear the future. In workshops this afternoon we will talk about the reality of poverty in Ontario, and talk about how together we might ‘unveil opportunities for hope’.

Diego, a student in the audience, responded to the panel’s presentation by saying ‘We all need to eat, food is a human right.’

The Ontario government does not have a serious strategy to end poverty in Ontario. The proposed welfare reforms in the recent Ontario budget are neither fundamental nor far-reaching as some would have us believe. The current rates for social assistance and the current minimum wage in Ontario ensure that people in Ontario with low incomes will continue to starve.

Premier Wynne’s proposed welfare reforms are inadequate. Premier Wynne must

‘Put Food in the Budget’ by raising social assistance rates and raising the minimum wage to ensure people have enough money to buy healthy food without relying on food banks.


The Toronto Star published two articles on the Put Food in the Budget event.

You can read them here.

Toronto students learn local connection with World Hunger Day –

Toronto high school students get lesson in the politics of hunger


Ontario Trillium Foundation supports Poverty Task Force

The CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation has high praise for the commitment of staff and volunteers of the Bruce Grey United Way.

Andrea Cohen was guest speaker at the United Way’s annual general meeting. She administers an annual budget of $120 million of provincial government grant money.

Cohen says the Trillium Foundation and the United Way have much in common in working to make better communities.

During her visit to Bruce Grey, Cohen presented a grant of $60,000 for a collaborative project between the United Way and the Bruce Grey Children’s Alliance.