Ontario Bill 3,An Act providing for the development of a provincial framework on palliative care passed third reading in the Ontario legislature and will become law. The purpose of the Act is to develop a framework to ensure that every Ontarian has access to quality palliative care. The Act requires the Minister of Health to develop a provincial framework designed to support improved access to palliative care. The Minister must table a report setting out the provincial framework in the Legislative Assembly within one year after the Bill comes into force. Within three years after the report is tabled, the Minister must prepare and table a report on the state palliative care in Ontario. Each report must be published on a Government of Ontario website.
Passing of the law sets a positive precedent for other provinces and shows demonstrate provincial government support for palliative care. The Bill was supported by 40 stakeholders, including Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, ALS Canada, and health professionals from across the province.
In April 2018, the CSPCP joined the Ontario Medical Association and six other organizations to advocate for Dan’s Law – which seeks to remove the three-month waiting period for access to OHIP-funded palliative care and home care for Canadian residents who move to or return to Ontario. Ontario has now indicated that changes will be made to OHIP to allow for this. Hopefully other provinces will follow suit. Huge thanks to Dr. Darren Cargill for garnering widespread support for this bill.
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Globe and Mail Article
After months of negotiation, an agreement has been reached and publicly announced by Ontario’s Ministry of Health regarding high strength opioids. Ontario physicians who identify themselves as palliative care prescribers and are part of the Ontario Medical Association’s (OMA’s) Palliative Care Facilitated Access (PCFA) Program will continue to be able to prescribe high-strength opioids to any patient who requires them. These opioids will be provided at no cost under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program. For those physicians who are not part of PCFA, a mechanism has been created for them to also prescribe high-strength opioids if consultation with a palliative care physician has taken place.
The CSPCP issued a news release applauding this decision and encouraging other provinces to adopt similar policies.
View the Press Release here