Deb Matthew's Letter to CARP: Ontario's Policy Changes will Double number Seniors' Access to Physio and Classes

Dear CARP Members,

Our government is working hard to help our seniors stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.

And I know how important physiotherapy is when you’ve had a setback, like an injury, surgery or a stroke, when you’re trying to get back on your feet again.

That’s why I was happy to announce improvements this week that will double the number of Ontarians – mostly seniors – who will have access to physiotherapy, exercise and falls prevention classes in the community.  In total, we’re going to help over 200,000 more Ontarians be healthier.

We’re increasing the budget for these services from $146 million to $156 million annually – but we can provide much more care by changing how it’s funded.  Until now, a small number of for-profit companies have had almost exclusive control over the delivery of physiotherapy.  This antiquated model resulted in less access, low quality and poor value.  Change is long overdue.

Under the new model, we will directly fund the physiotherapy and exercise that seniors need, expand the availability of those services to more locations across Ontario, and increase access – while ensuring eligibility for those services remains the same.

In our long-term care homes, we’re going to strengthen the quality of one-on-one physiotherapy for all residents who need it, and offer exercise classes there as well.

For seniors who need physiotherapy but can’t easily leave their homes, we’re going to dramatically reduce wait times for in-home physiotherapy for 60,000 more people through our Community Care Access Centres.

We’re going to make it easier to access publicly-funded physiotherapy in clinics for 90,000 more people right across the province by expanding the number of clinics offering these services, including in small and rural communities.

And we’re going to integrate physiotherapists into family health care settings like Family Health Teams, Nurse Practitioner Led Clinics and Community Health Centres.

When it comes to exercise and falls prevention programming, twice as many seniors will benefit from classes that will be offered in retirement homes, community centres, and other locations, benefitting 130,000 seniors in total.

These reforms come into effect starting on August 1, 2013 and throughout the Fall.  With your support, I am confident that we can make an enormous difference in the lives of seniors, helping to keep them healthy, at home, and out of the hospital.

If you want to know more about these improvements, check out the information on our website at or call the Seniors’ INFOline at 1-800-387-5559.


Together, we can make healthy change happen.


Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care


 Helpful Links