Adrianna Tetley, CEO, Association of Ontario Health Centres was introduced by Lise Marie Baudry, Executive Director of the Centre francophone de Toronto:
Merci Lise Marie.
As Lise Marie said I am the CEO of the Association of Ontario Health Centres which represents Ontario's Community Health Centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres, Nurse Practitioner Led Clinics and Community Family Health Teams.We are the voice of community-governed organizations that deliver primary health care across the province.
On their behalf, I thank the current government of Ontario for this investment, but especially Minister Matthews.
This is the third time I have shared the stage with Minister Matthews for major capital announcements and this is one is best of all because it is sustainable and ongoing.
In August, 2011, in Malton, Minister Matthews announced capital funding for nine CHCs.
In April 2013, almost one year ago, Minister Matthews announced over $70M for 12 CHCs and four Aboriginal Health Access Centres.It was the first time AHACs have received capital investment since the 1990s.
And even just as noteworthy, this was the largest capital announcement in the history of CHCs.
Let me tell you why today's announcement is so significant.
You see, in 2004 and then in 2005, the then Minister of Health, Minister Smitherman announced the largest expansion of CHCs in their history - 21 new CHCs and 22 new satellites.
We were all VERY excited - but the problem was that although the operational funding was approved, it appeared to us that no one really thought about funding for capital.
The community infrastructure fund at the Ministry of Health was just too small.As far as we could tell - and we never really knew the total funds - the Ministry had about $25M per year for the entire community capital pressures.
This meant that there were not enough capital funds to meet the needs of the new CHCs, let alone the old CHCs and AHAC's desperate need for capital funding, or the needs of any of the other community agencies.
So with each of the two capital announcements in 2011 and then in 2013, we were thrilled for the CHC's and AHAC's that were announced, but we still had to tell the others that they remained on the waiting list - with no end in sight.
With today's announcements - the WAIT IS OVER.
This announcement doubles the community capital fund from 25M to a total of 50M by 2017.
We believe there is now enough funding in this announcement to complete all the outstanding CHCs announced in 2004/05 PLUS some of the older CHCs that are long overdue for refurbished or new buildings.
This designated money will give our member centres a source of support when they need repairs such as new roofs, HVACs and elevators.
CHCs have been around for over 40 years. They are often in dire state of repair.This fund will ensure that the buildings will be able to offer services in safe, accessible and vibrant community spaces to meet the needs of the people we serve.
This 60 M over the next 3 years means so much, and is not just about the buildings. It is about what the buildings will allow our community organizations to do.
Minister Matthews, we know that you believe that better health is not just something you get in a medical clinic.Better health begins in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, and the communities where we live.
In your Action Plan you talk about building the strength and capacity of the community sector; and you talk about moving services to the community so that services can be provided closer to home.
This announcement is a huge foundational piece to making that happen. It will enable us to build a more integrated and less fragmented health and social service system.
In fact, Centre Francophone de Toronto is an excellent example of an integrated hub.At this centre, under one roof, primary health care services, family and youth services, newcomer services, legal services, employment services and cultural services -- are all provided under one roof -- in a culturally safe and vibrant community hub.
This is the future we need to move towards if we truly want to be people centred and these are the possibilities that this announcement today will truly enable.
Minister Matthews and I have been talking about the capital file now for more than five years now and I can report both she, and her team, really fight for what they believe in.
I know how hard you and your staff had to work to make this announcement happen - especially in this tight fiscal period.It shows your dedication and your determination to ensure that everyone gets the services they need.
So in closing Minister Matthews, please take our thanks back to Premier Wynne for your Government's vision and commitment to 'walk the talk' and to invest in community.
We believe that by working together we can be part of building an integrated community health and wellbeing system --- a system that is all about keeping people --- and the communities where they live --- healthy and strong.
Today's announcement is a giant step forward in making this happen.
Adrianna Tetley, CEO AOHC with Centre Francophone de Toronto Board Chair, Louise Hurteau and Minister Deb Matthews
The Association of Ontario Health Centres aims for the best possible health and wellbeing for everyone living in Ontario. AOHC looks towards a future without systemic barriers that prevent people from reaching their full health potential, where everyone can make the choices that allow them to live a fulfilling life. A future in which individuals, families and communities are served by, and are able to actively participate in, trusted healthcare systems that respond to people's and communities' needs in coordinated and comprehensive ways.
Sofia Ramirez, Communications Lead, Association of Ontario Health Centres