The Government of Ontario announced this week that it will invest close to $48 million to help build a new wing at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Thunder Bay to offer rehabilitation services to people with mental health issues.
Ontario is working to improve privacy and accountability in the health care system with new measures to protect the personal health information of patients. The province will be introducing amendments to the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) that, if passed, should strengthen privacy rules, make it easier to prosecute offences and increase fines.
The Government of Ontario has launched public consultations on two key Acts that will impact on the changing nature of the modern workplace. The consultations will consider how the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and Employment Standards Act, 2000 can be amended to balance protection for workers while supporting businesses.
Louise Paquette, Chief Executive Officer of the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) has been awarded with an inaugural Champions of Telemedicine Award from the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). She received the award for her work in helping more Northerners access care through the unique telemedicine technology.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is providing Ontarians with an opportunity to provide the government input on the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy. The Ministry is engaging with the public and partners across government to inform this strategy.
The John Howard Society of Toronto presented their new Reintegration Centre recently with an Open House and barbeque event. Officially opened in November, the Centre aims to help individuals who are released from the new Toronto South Detention Centre, located across the street, to better reintegrate back into the community. Toronto South is a male correctional facility that can hold over 1,600 inmates and will release approximately 180 men each week once the facility is at capacity.
Police are looking to collect community feedback on the new body-worn camera pilot project, which took to the streets this month. Over the next few weeks, 20,000 surveys will be delivered to randomly chosen homes and businesses, and an online surveyis available for members of the public to share their feedback as well. The survey includes questions about support for officers to wear a camera and in what situations the camera should be turned off. The pilot project will last one year, and will then be evaluated using the community’s comments.
The Government of Ontario has asked the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) to develop the new standards for suicide prevention in a hospital setting. A new OHA task force, chaired by Dr. Ian Dawe, will focus on establishing safe medical practices for at-risk patients by looking at best practices and working with patients and those with lived-experience.
Health Quality Ontario has launched a new report, titled Looking for Balance. The report highlights that a major difference across Ontario’s long-term care homes is the percentage of residents who are being prescribed antipsychotic medications.
Concerns about the province’s decision to accelerate the pace of Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) medical reviews led to a welcome change of direction by the Ontario government this week. While the government originally planned to begin to clear a backlog of more than 60,000 medical reviews on April 1, 2015, a spokeswoman for the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services, told the Toronto Star this week that “the Ministry wants to take the time to get the process right.”