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Ontario launches new plan to prepare for health emergencies

Health Minister Christine Elliott says while the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, the province is in a place where it can use the lessons learned over the past two years to shore up the health system.


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TORONTO — Ontario is seeking to recruit more nurses in underserved communities, permanently boost the pay of personal support workers, and maintain a stockpile of personal protective equipment.

The measures are some of the items in what the province is calling a Plan to Stay Open, which aims to ensure Ontario is better equipped to respond to another health crisis.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says while the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, the province is in a place where it can use the lessons learned over the past two years to shore up the health system.

The plan includes new legislation that would, among other measures, make permanent a $3-an-hour wage enhancement for PSWs that the government has been extending for a few months at a time since 2020.

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The legislation would also require annual reporting on supplies of personal protective equipment, and require the province to have a provincial emergency plan that is updated every five years.

The government is also announcing $81 million over two years to expand a program in which nursing graduates can receive full tuition reimbursement in exchange for committing to practice in an underserved community for two years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2022.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2022.    


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