Ontario’s major political parties are promising to hire more doctors and nurses and increase the number of seats at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine to meet the immediate need for health care workers in the region.
There has long been a shortage of healthcare workers in Northern Ontario, and many are calling for a significant increase in investment in the sector to fill regional gaps.
Red Lake Margaret Cochenour Hospital had to close its emergency room for 24 hours at one point in March due to a shortage of local doctors able to work in the ward.
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said his party would increase the number of spots available at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM University) and hire 100,000 new health care workers in the province, including doctors and nurses, over six years.
The NDP proposes to immediately hire and recruit 300 doctors in Northern Ontario, including 100 specialists and 40 mental health practitioners, and to train more doctors and health professionals to work in the North by increasing the number of places and training opportunities at NOSM University.
The Progressive Conservatives, who are seeking re-election, presented a pre-campaign plan to invest $142 million to support tuition reimbursement for nurses in exchange for services in underserved communities across Ontario and Train more doctors through expanding medical education places, with 160 undergraduate places and 295 postgraduate positions offered over the next five years.
The Green Party of Ontario says it will double the Rural and Northern Recruitment and Retention Initiative and the Northern Physician Retention Initiative to recruit 230 physicians and specialists to communities and expanding the roles and scope of nurse practitioners as primary health care providers.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 28, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of Meta and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.