Budget 2024: $546 million investment to expand and enhance access to team-based primary care

After a year of advocacy on funding to expand and enhance access to team-based primary care, AFHTO's advocacy efforts have proven successful as the Ontario government announces a $546 million investment in primary care, aiming to connect up to 600,000 individuals to primary care teams. This afternoon, Ontario’s Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy presented the budget which highlighted the government's commitment to new investments aimed at increasing access to team-based primary care. 

AFHTO is supportive of this new investment which brings sustainable funding to the sector. "We applaud the government of Ontario for this historic investment in primary care teams throughout the province. The sustainability of this funding is important as it enables more Ontarians to receive comprehensive primary care services, leading to improved outcomes and swifter access to necessary care. This strategic investment not only bolsters the existing framework of primary care teams but also reinforces their role as the cornerstone of Ontario's healthcare system. This funding is crucial to maintain the momentum of these teams, safeguarding the long-term health and well-being of our communities." - Leslie Sorensen, CEO, Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario

Key facts: 

  • Base spending on health care, the largest component of the budget, will increase from $74.6 billion last year to $75.6 billion.
  • Today’s budget includes $546 million dollars earmarked over the next three years to expand interprofessional primary care teams. The funding will be distributed across the province and into new or existing health-care teams, putting more people in touch with a family doctor.
  • Amid a shortage of family doctors, the province will establish a medical school primarily focused on family medicine at York University in Toronto. Around $9 million has been set aside to support planning for the school.
  • The government is spending $2-billion over three years to expand access to home care and increase compensation for personal support workers and nurses; and almost $1-billion more for hospitals in 2024-25.
  • The budget includes $152-million to provide stable housing for people with mental health conditions and addictions.
  • The government is investing $50 million over three years to enhance and stabilize health care capacity within Northern and rural communities. This investment will introduce long‐term solutions encompassing education, recruitment, retention, scope of practice and care models to provide residents of Northern Ontario and those in remote areas with improved access to health care services. This funding will also support the expansion of existing rural generalist pathways for physicians and fund additional supports and upskilling for other health care workers.