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ER Wait Times Program Expands

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ER Wait Times Program Expands

McGuinty Government Investing In Shorter ER Wait Times

Ministry of Health

Ontario is lowering emergency room wait times by expanding the Pay for Results program that has already helped hospitals across the province make significant wait time improvements.

Since 2008, the province's Pay for Results program has helped participating hospitals lower overall wait times by 4.7 hours (28%) for patients who require complex medical care or admission to hospital, and by 1.4 hours (22%) for patients with minor conditions.  

The program helps hospitals implement initiatives like patient flow tracking systems, which improve discharge and admission processes, or hiring nurse practitioners to treat patients with less complex conditions.

This year, through a $100 million investment, the government is expanding the Pay for Results program to an additional 25 hospitals across the province, bringing the total number of participating hospitals to 71. 

Reducing ER wait times builds on the government's Open Ontario plan to provide more access to health care services while improving accountability for patients.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario now reports all surgical and ER wait times online at www.Ontario.ca/waittimes
  • In February 2009, Ontario set targets of four hours for patients with minor conditions and eight hours for patients with complex conditions
  • There are 163 emergency rooms in the province, with 2.8 million people making 5.25 million visits to these ERs every year.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“I'm so encouraged by the results participating hospitals have achieved since we launched the Pay for Results program in 2008. I'm excited to expand this program so we can keep building on this success.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“The Pay for Results program is making a real difference in Ontario hospitals and improving the patient's experience in our ER's. This expansion will extend the program to include all 71 of our busiest ERs, providing them with the tools to continue to reduce waiting and improve service in Ontario ERs.”

Dr. Howard Ovens

Provincial Lead, ER Strategy

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Government Health and Wellness