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Ontario Investing In Shorter ER Wait Times

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Ontario Investing In Shorter ER Wait Times

McGuinty Government Expands Successful Pay-for-Results Program

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is giving the province's most challenged emergency rooms incentives to improve patient satisfaction and reduce ER wait times.

The $55 million Pay-for-Results program will give 46 hospitals funding incentives to meet specific targets and reduce the time patients spend in the ER. Last year, 23 hospitals  participated and were able to reduce the amount of time non-urgent patients spent in their ERs by 29 per cent.

The expanded Pay-for Results program is part of the comprehensive $82 million ER Wait Times Strategy aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of hospital ERs across the province. Other highlights include:

  • $5 million for dedicated nurses to care for patients who arrive at ERs by ambulance to ease ambulance offload delays
  • $6.5 million for community projects to help patients with chronic or palliative conditions receive care in the community and avoid frequent ER visits
  • $7.5 million for an emergency room process improvement program that includes coaching teams and tools to help select hospitals improve processes and patient flow in ERs.
  • $4.1 million to have physician assistants work in ERs
  • $4 million for public and partner education to help Ontarians identify the health care options in their communities - such as walk in clinics or family health teams - that are appropriate alternatives to ERs.

Today's announcement builds on the initiatives announced earlier this week to expand access to home and community-based services which will help some patients avoid unnecessary ER visits and lengthy hospital stays.

Quick Facts

  • There are 163 emergency rooms in the province, with 2.8 million people making 5.25 million visits to these ERs each year.
  • In February, the government began publicly reporting the time people spend in ERs while setting targets of four hours for patients with minor or uncomplicated conditions and eight hours for patients with complex conditions.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“I'm pleased to be able to continue working with our hospitals to reduce ER wait times. These investments are targeted directly at providing timely, high quality emergency care for patients.”

David Caplan

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“Improving ER times involves making these comprehensive investments each year to ensure the most efficient processes are in place to deliver the best care to patients. Hospitals and LHINs have been showing strong leadership and we look forward to lower ER times and improved patient satisfaction.”

Dr. Alan Hudson

Provincial Executive Lead, Access to Services and Wait Times.

“The Pay-for Results program has been a tremendously successful lever to engage hospitals and LHINs in seriously addressing long ER waiting times, and is a key part of the government's ER/ALC strategy. The expansion of this program is another very positive step towards improving care for ER patients in Ontario”

Michael Schull

ER Strategy Provincial Lead



Health and Wellness