Ford government restructuring Ontario's health ministry

The changes will mean re-structuring some of the divisions within Ontario’s health ministry bureaucracy.

Deputy Health Minister Helen Angus will announce changes later Thursday, no job losses expected

The restructuring means one new division of Ontario's health ministry will focus solely on mental health. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The Ford government is re-organizing how Ontario's health ministry is structured, CBC News has learned.

The moves made by Health Minister Christine Elliott were announced Thursday in a memo to staff by Deputy Health Minister Helen Angus.

It means some of the divisions within Ontario's health ministry bureaucracy are facing changes.

As part of the shift, one new division will be focused solely on mental health and addictions. The ministry is also combining responsibility for hospitals and capital projects under one division. 

"We will now have a full picture of the hospital sector in one place, including the operational impact of capital investments to support the government's strategy to end hallway healthcare," said Angus in the memo, obtained by CBC News. 

"The ministry is updating its internal structure to better align with and support the government's key health priorities," a government official told CBC News.

Government sources tell CBC there will be no job losses as a result of the restructuring. In June, some 416 back-office workers were laid off amid the merger of 14 local health integration networks (LHINs) despite campaign promises by Doug Ford that there would be no job losses should his PCs form government.

Among the layoffs were communications, planning and financial services staff.

The province is consolidating 20 agencies, including the LHINs, Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario, among others, into a new agency called Ontario Health.

The government is also encouraging hospitals, long-term care facilities and home care agencies to form what it calls Ontario Health Teams. A new division to support the formation of those teams was also announced Thursday as part of the ministry's reorganization. 

The bureaucratic changes will take effect next Monday.

This comes in the same month when new data showed average wait times at Ontario hospitals set a new June record this year. According to recent data from Health Quality Ontario, patients spent an average of 16.3 hours waiting in emergency rooms in June 2019, up from an average of 14.4 hours the previous June.

With files from The Canadian Press