ESPANOLA – Today Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, was joined by Donna Stewart (CAO of the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board) to call on the government of Ontario to pass Bill 13, The Northern Health Travel Grant Advisory Committee Act.
The Northern Health Travel Grant (NHTG) is a program administered by the government of Ontario meant to assist patients living in Northern Ontario who need to travel more than 100 km for medical treatment.
“Northerners living in rural and remote communities deserve the same access to healthcare as everyone else in Ontario.” Said Mantha. “But with the high costs of gas, food and accommodations I am hearing from more and more people who are being financially burdened when they need to travel for treatment.”
MPP Mantha’s legislation, if passed, would establish a committee composed of Northern healthcare providers and residents who will consult with relevant community partners (including primary care providers, Indigenous health organizations, Northern public health units, etc.). The bill requires the committee to study the program’s effectiveness and make recommendations to the Minister of Health for improvements.
“Being able to get the treatment you need without financial barriers is at the core of our healthcare system in Canada.” Said Mantha. “I am calling on the Ford government to do the right thing, listen to people in the North and pass my bill next week.”
Bill 13 will be debated at second reading in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on February 22nd, 2024.
Donna Stewart (CAO, Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board) – “An increase to Northern Health Travel Grant rates would be extremely helpful for anyone in Northern Ontario and more specifically social assistance recipients. They may not access to important medical care due to the financial burden placed on them through the current system, individuals in the rural north deserve the same access to care as individuals in other parts of the province. A review of the Northern Health Travel Grant system could “result in increased access to important health care.”