AFHTO learned in fall 2021 that only people with a valid Ontario driver’s license could renew their OHIP card online. Most people who could not drive needed to go in-person to a ServiceOntario office.
This was particularly concerning as many people without a license are not in this position by choice. A disability that prevents some people from driving can make in-person renewal difficult at any time. And in a pandemic, going to crowded ServiceOntario offices exposes people to even further risk.
Along with partners, AFHTO called on the government to allow OHIP-eligible Ontarians who hold an Ontario Photo Card to be able to renew online as well. The Photo Card is identical to a driver’s license for proof of identity and residency.
On February 9, we were pleased to see the government publicly commit to resolving this inequity. As they need a few more months to upgrade the system, they have extended the OHIP renewal deadline to September 30, 2022.
We encourage teams make sure patients who cannot drive are aware of the Ontario Photo Card. The government introduced it over a decade ago after hearing from many people with disabilities that something similar to a driver's license for proof of identity and residency was needed.
While the system will soon be equal to people who drive and those who do not, AFHTO will continue advocacy for people who will still struggle with renewal despite this fix.
- Regular conversations with the Minister of Health's office.
- A joint media statement on December 13, 2021, with the Alliance, the IPHCC, and the NPLCA
- A joint letter to Minister Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, on December 14, 2021
- Outreach to NDP health critic, MPP France Gelinas, who then wrote to Ministers Elliott and Romano on January 12, 2022
We also spoke with the ARCH Disability Law Centre in January, and were pleased with their letter to the ministers the following week.
Thank you to our partners for agreeing to join us in this advocacy, particularly the Alliance for Healthier Communities, the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council (IPHCC), and the Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic Association (NPLCA). And thank you to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) who we later learned had raised this with government before and who partnered with us upon AFHTO's outreach.