Update on Eye CarePublished on August 27, 2021
I understand how crucial eye care is for everyone in Ontario. Since day one, we have been working tirelessly to ensure that all patients in the province have access to the care they need and when they need it.
We know that optometrists have been long neglected by previous governments, who have failed to negotiate a fair and sustainable agreement between the province and the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO). Our goal is to reach this agreement as soon as possible to build a long-term and sustainable funding relationship with Ontario’s optometrists to ensure that patients continue to receive the care they deserve.
As of now, the offer that Ontario put on the table includes an immediate compensation increase of 8.48% at the fee code level (retroactive to April 1, 2021). We are also offering a one-time payment of $39 million which would cover a retroactive period over the past decade and was calculated to reflect similar increases applied to physicians during this time and future fee increases. The province is ready to establish a working group (supported by a mediator) with the OAO, this would assist the Ministry of Health to reach a common understanding of the overhead costs associated with delivering publicly funded eye care services and inform ongoing negotiations associated with the fees for the delivery of optometry services.
Ontarians need to know that our government will always continue to fund OHIP optometry services. However, to date, we have been disappointed by the OAO’s response to our offer and their continued threat to withdraw services that many vulnerable Ontarians rely on. Thus, any decision to withdraw optometry services is the decision of optometrists alone.
Our government is doing everything possible to reach an agreement that is fair to everyone, and most importantly, to our patients. We continue to urge the OAO to commit to working with us to reach an agreement so that Ontarians can continue to rely on the services they so desperately need.
For further information, you can find a copy of a letter to optometrist from the Minister of Health, the Honourable Christine Elliott regarding the government’s negotiations with the OAO at the following link: OHIP INFOBulletin.