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Ontarians Standing With Military Families

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Ontarians Standing With Military Families

McGuinty Government Introduces Legislation That Would Ensure Faster Access To OHIP Coverage, Job Protection For Reservists

Office of the Premier

The McGuinty government is standing with those who serve in the military and the reserves by introducing legislation that would, if passed, provide immediate access to OHIP for eligible military families and protect the jobs of reservists who are called up to duty.

"When asked to make sacrifices on our behalf, our men and women in uniform do not hesitate, so when it comes to accessing government services, they and their families shouldn't have to wait," said Premier Dalton McGuinty.

"Compared to what they do for us, these are modest measures, but it is our hope that they will make military families' lives a little easier, and provide our soldiers with some peace of mind."

The legislation, if passed, would also remove the 90-day waiting period for services insured under OHIP for military families. Military families transferred to Ontario from other provinces or from overseas are sometimes required to pay physician fees up front during the waiting period. The new policy is expected to benefit approximately 8,500 military family members each year.

"People who serve our country should not have to face an additional burden of paying fees up front for publicly funded health care for their families. This legislation, if passed, would ensure that military families have immediate access to coverage for the full range of provincially funded health care services," said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman.

The proposed legislation would also ensure that military reservists have job protection while on a tour of duty either at home or abroad. There are about 12,000 reservists from Ontario, with several hundred serving abroad at any one time.

"Job-protected leave for reservists would acknowledge the service and sacrifice these citizens render their country and community. Ontarians who put their lives on the line to serve our country should never have to worry that their civilian jobs back home are on the line," said Labour Minister Brad Duguid.

Premier McGuinty met with military families today to outline the changes and thank them for their service and sacrifices.

"Canadian Forces members and reservists do a tough job, often in difficult conditions. They stand ready to protect us -- we have to make sure our province stands with them," he said.

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