Understanding Home and Community Healthcare Services in Ontario

Home and Community Healthcare Services in Ontario

Home and Community Care

For more than 20 years, our team has worked in healthcare in Ontario, especially in Home and Community Care. Our Healthcare system is constantly changing and evolving not only because it is a big part of our lives, but also because each successive government tries to find the best way(s) to improve and deliver upon changing healthcare needs.

In Canada, healthcare is the responsibility of each province and territory. They get money from the federal government and then figure out the best way to help care for their respective populations. So, while the services may be a bit different in each place, they have a lot in common.

As a Province, Ontario spends more than 60 billion dollars a year on healthcare, and this cost is only expected to increase as our population ages. According to the National Institute on Aging, by 2050, more than 25% of Canadians will be 65 or older. Older people need more healthcare, so we need to prepare for the changes required by the tsunami of aging that is now approaching us.

The Story of L.H.I.N.s

In Ontario, healthcare services used to be planned, funded, and coordinated by local health authorities called Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). The underlying belief being that community-based care works best when it was planned and funded locally.

LHINs were created by the Ontario government in 2005 and began operating in 2007. They were funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and helped decide which healthcare services were needed in their areas. In their origins, there were 14 LHINs created, each focusing on a specific part of Ontario.

The Healthline Directory continues to reflect the structure of these original LHINs and provides an essential and ongoing information service for all Ontarians seeking healthcare services local to their individual geographies.

Ongoing System Evolution & Reform

In 2019, the government created a new organization called Ontario Health. This “super agency” is now responsible for many different parts of our healthcare system including: eHealth Ontario, Cancer Care Ontario, the Ontario Telemedicine Network, as well as the 14 LHINs.

In April 2021, the LHINs changed from planning and funding healthcare to actually providing healthcare services. They now work under Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS). The government is also working on making the number of these organizations smaller.

Ontario Health Teams (OHTs)

The current provincial government is now working on the formation and development of locally formed Ontario Health Teams (OHTs). These teams are made up of different healthcare providers, like hospitals, primary care providers, long-term care homes, as well as home and community care providers.  The intent is to have these organizations work together and more seamlessly to make healthcare better, more accessible, and more efficient, for the needs of each community. We are still learning about how these OHTs will work, but we can expect to hear more about them in the future as they begin to take shape and change the way that healthcare is currently delivered.


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