TORONTO — Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says the province is expected to be short 33,000 nurses and personal support workers in five years.
The Financial Accountability Office says in a special health-care report that the government will be short $21 billion to cover its commitments to expand hospitals, long-term care and home care.
The province’s health-care system has buckled in recent years with severe staffing shortages that have led to temporary emergency room closures, a massive surgical backlog and fed-up patients.
The financial watchdog says the province could address the funding shortfall by incrementally spending more in upcoming budgets and a boost from Ontario’s ballooning contingency fund.
A spokeswoman for Health Minister Sylvia Jones says the province is investing heavily in health care, has reduced wait times for key surgeries and “broke records” by registering more new nurses in 2022.
Hannah Jensen says they will use money from the pending health-care deal with the federal government to hire more nurses and sign up more people with family doctors.