Ontario Optometrists and Government Enter Negotiations
For over 33 years, the Ontario Government has underfunded OHIP-insured eye exams to the point where they don’t even cover half the cost to provide the exam. This has resulted in Ontario being the worst-funded for insured eye exams in the entire country by more than 70%.
The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) and the Ministry of Health have agreed to enter formal negotiations regarding OHIP funding of optometric care. As a sign of good faith, the OAO is pausing its job action as of November 23, 2021, ensuring that millions of Ontarians insured by OHIP can again benefit from the expertise of their optometrist during these negotiations.
On October 6, 2021, Minister Elliott stated in the Ontario Legislature: “We don’t expect optometrists to pay out of pocket for the services that they provide,” offering a public commitment that the government will ensure that the cost of delivering OHIP-insured services is not borne by optometrists. The OAO is committed to negotiating a sustainable funding model that aligns with how optometric care is funded in other Canadian jurisdictions.
The OAO expects robust talks to begin immediately, noting that the swift resolution of this issue is a top priority for both optometrists and their patients.