Ontario Newsroom

Province Increasing Access to Primary Care for Ontario Families

Archived News Release

Province Increasing Access to Primary Care for Ontario Families

Recruiting and Retaining More Health Care Professionals in Local Communities

Ministry of Health

Ontario is improving access to primary care for Ontario families by helping to recruit and retain more non-physician primary health care professionals including nurse practitioners, social workers and registered dietitians.

The province is supporting 445 primary care organizations across Ontario, such as community health centres, nurse practitioner-led clinics, family health teams, Aboriginal Health Access Centres and nursing stations that serve nearly four million people in Ontario. This funding will allow organizations to better attract and retain non-physician health care professionals to serve more Ontario families, including in high-needs and remote communities.

Increasing access to primary care is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.

Quick Facts

  • The government is providing $22.2 million this year, and $31.7 million in each of the next two years, fulfilling a 2016 Budget commitment to provide up to $85 million over the next three years to support interprofessional primary care organizations.
  • The funding recipients include Ontario’s 184 family health teams, 75 community health centres, 25 nurse practitioner-led clinics, 10 Aboriginal Health Access Centres and a range of programs such as nursing stations and primary care nurse practitioners serving rural and northern communities.
  • These organizations employ close to 5,000 interdisciplinary health providers such as nurse practitioners, social workers, nurses, dietitians, occupational therapists, and health promoters and approximately 2,000 administrative staff (medical secretaries, receptionists, and volunteer coordinators). They provide a wide range of primary care services that support the care provided by family doctors and nurse practitioners.
  • The new funding is retroactive to April 1, 2016.

Additional Resources


“This important investment addresses an imbalance in compensation among health providers in primary care teams. Our government is committed to supporting these workers and improving timely access to primary care for Ontarians no matter where they live.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“This funding will provide nurse practitioners and registered nurses who work in primary care with their first pay raise in years, which we have long advocated for. Today's announcement addresses their right to fair pay and will help the government meet its vision to transform the health system and have more care provided in communities closer to home.”

Doris Grinspun CEO

Registered Nurses Association of Ontario

“The government has clearly committed to strengthen primary care as the foundation of Ontario’s health system. We are thrilled to see that funds are now flowing to help primary care teams attract and keep the skilled professionals needed to deliver better care, better health and better value for Ontarians.”

Angie Heydon

CEO, Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario

“We are heartened that the government is taking a step in the right direction by providing much-needed support to interprofessional primary health care providers. This funding is crucial to enable Ontario to do a better job ensuring people who face barriers to health can access the services they need from interprofessional teams.”

Adrianna Tetley

CEO, Association of Ontario Health Centres

“This funding will strengthen the timely, high-quality, comprehensive care that every person in Ontario has come to expect. We want interprofessional primary care teams to thrive so that they can continue to meet the health care needs of all Ontarians, now and in the future.”

Theresa Agnew

Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario

Media Contacts



Government Health and Wellness