June 4th Weekly Update

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Our government is working hard to deliver on items that matter to Ontarians. In this edition of the Weekly Update, you can find the latest news on what the province is doing to:
  • Reduce Wait Times for MRI and CT Scans
  • Increase Ontario’s Biomanufacturing Capabilities 
  • Strengthen the Ontario High School Diploma 

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Reducing Wait Times for MRI and CT Scans

As part of the Your Health plan, the Ontario government is taking the next step to make it easier and faster for people to connect to publicly-funded surgeries and procedures by adding 100,000 more MRI and CT scans at community surgical and diagnostic centres across the province each year.

A call for applications opened yesterday, with new licences expected to be issued starting in Fall 2024 that will connect nearly 100,000 more people to scans each year. This expansion of services will also help to reduce wait times for MRI and CT scans to 28 days in every region of the province from the date the order/requisition was received to the date that people receive their scan, ensuring every person who needs imaging receives it within the medically recommended period of time.

Two additional calls for applications will be launched this summer and fall to also expand the number of community surgical and diagnostic centres that can connect people to GI endoscopy procedures and orthopedic surgeries.

New community surgical and diagnostic centres build on the successes the Ontario government has achieved since the launch of Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care including:

  • Achieving the shortest surgical wait times of any province in Canada in 2023, with nearly 80 per cent of people receiving their procedure within clinically recommended target times.
  • Funding up to 65,568 MRI and 31,220 CT operating hours in existing community surgical and diagnostic centres over the past year.
  • Adding 49 new MRI machines in 42 hospitals across the province.
  • Adding four new licensed cataract centres to provide more publicly funded cataract and other eye surgeries. In the past year, the government has funded 32,000 eye surgery procedures at community surgical and diagnostic centres.
  • Eliminating the backlog of cervical cancer screening tests at the end of August 2023. Testing turnaround times returned to the pre-pandemic standard of 10 to 14 days.

As the government significantly expands the number of surgeries being done through community surgical and diagnostic centres, it is ensuring these centres are integrated and linked with the broader public health system. This includes requiring new facilities to provide detailed staffing plans that protect the stability of staffing resources at public hospitals, reporting into the province’s wait times information system and participating in regional central intakes, where available, to ensure people get the surgery they need as quickly as possible. All community surgical and diagnostic centres are now also under the oversight of Accreditation Canada’s new quality assurance program which provides the same strong requirements as public hospitals to improve quality standards at facilities and ensure consistent patient safety and quality care.

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Ontario Celebrates Launch of Canada’s Largest Biomanufacturing Facility

The Ontario government joined Sanofi to celebrate the grand opening of their new, $800 million vaccine manufacturing facility at its Toronto campus. The new building, spanning approximately 200,000 square feet, will produce pediatric and adult vaccines for pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria and tetanus, significantly increasing the country’s production of life-saving vaccines for domestic and global markets.

“Our government is pleased to support Sanofi as they expand their footprint in Ontario,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This new state-of-the-art facility is another vote of confidence in our workers and our growing life sciences sector, helping to ensure people in Ontario and around the world have increased access to life-saving vaccines when they need them.”

Sanofi’s new facility builds on the company’s expansive footprint in Ontario, which includes a full spectrum of R&D, manufacturing, clinical trials, regulatory, distribution and commercial operations. As part of Sanofi’s 2,000 employees in Canada, the facility will employ 200 people and is supported by federal, municipal and provincial governments including a $50 million investment from the province of Ontario.

Sanofi is also building a second new facility at its Toronto campus to increase production of the Fluzone High-Dose Influenza Vaccine, a flu vaccine specifically formulated for people 65 years and older.

As part of the government’s life sciences strategy, the province is investing $15 million through the Life Sciences Innovation Fund and $100 million through the Ontario Together Fund to help establish Ontario as a global biomanufacturing and life sciences hub. Over the past three years, Ontario has attracted over $3 billion in investments from life sciences companies and global biomanufacturers.

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Province Introduces New High School Graduation Requirements for a Stronger Ontario Diploma

The Ontario government is modernizing the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) requirements for the first time in 25 years, and launching consultations with parents, job creators, educators and stakeholders on what skills students need to be better prepared for life beyond the classroom through the reintroduction of modernized home economics education.

The province is introducing a suite of reforms to ensure Ontario’s diploma embraces the back-to-basics agenda, including:

  • new financial literacy graduation requirement to ensure students exit Ontario’s school system with both literacy and practical financial literacy skills.
  • Consulting on important life skills and the return of home economics education.
  • Ensuring new teachers hold basic competency in math. Teacher applicants to the Ontario College of Teachers must pass the Math Proficiency Test beginning in February 2025.
  • For the first time in 13 years, a wholesale revitalization of guidance and career education to support students’ understanding of local labour market needs and pathways to good careers.
  • Up to $14 million in 2024-25 to launch career coaching for Grade 9 and 10 students and to explore new opportunities into STEM and skilled trades.
  • Return of the student exit survey to benchmark success and garner feedback on the impact of reforms with an emphasis on guidance.

Ontario’s new financial literacy assessment as a graduation requirement will ensure students have the skills and knowledge to create and manage a household budget, save for a home, learn to invest wisely, and protect themselves from financial fraud. Starting in 2025, students will be required to score 70 per cent or higher to meet the financial literacy graduation requirement in their Grade 10 math course. Furthermore, the province will standardize making EQAO Grade 9 Math scores 10 per cent or more of a student’s final mark, a practice already used by the majority of teachers.

Students will also benefit from modernized career education programming in their schools with more exposure to the skilled trades and priority economic sectors. The government is investing up to $14 million in 2024-25 for career coaching for Grade 9 and 10 students in the publicly funded education system. In partnership with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, this funding will also provide resources and tools to help at-risk youth, individuals in youth justice facilities, and students in other publicly funded educational settings outside of regular classrooms. Through shared agreements with school boards and other existing structures, this career coaching will help young people succeed and become positive members of their communities.

Ontario will begin consultations this fall with parents and experts on what practical life skills students should learn in school to build a strong foundation that sets them up for success. This can include the mandatory inclusion of life skills like nutritious cooking, changing a tire, sewing a button, using first aid, personal responsibility and basic economics, all of which can prove valuable throughout a student’s lifespan. This places an emphasis on personal development, decision-making and intrapersonal skills, all of which are in demand by employers across the economy.

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My constituency office is open Monday to Friday from 10AM to 4PM.
If you have any questions or concerns we’re readily available to assist you. 
You can also reach us by phone at (416) 781-2395
or by email at robin.martin@pc.ola.org.

 

Warmest Wishes, 
Robin Martin, MPP
Eglinton-Lawrence

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