Ontario health budget rises, but by much less than last year
Health-care system remains stressed, with hospital base funding expected to stay frozen, while funding for home and community care rises 5 per cent.
Health care in Ontario will continue to be squeezed because the annual rise in funding is shrinking.
Combined operating and capital funding will rise by less than half of what it did last fiscal year, placing more pressure on a health system already under tremendous stress because of a rapidly aging population.
The entire health budget for the fiscal year 2015-16 is $50.8 billion, up from $50.2 billion last year. But that represents a hike of only 1.2 per cent, down from 2.5 per cent last year.
With inflation and an aging and growing population, parts of the system, especially hospitals, will continue to face pressure to do more with less. Base operating funding for Ontario's 149 hospitals will be frozen for the fourth year in a row.
Hospitals are not allowed to run deficits and struggle to balance their books. They have cut beds over the years to the point that Ontario has one of the lower per-capita bed numbers not only in Canada but across the developed world.