Midwifery Investment an Important Step in Health Care Reform
July 8, 2019
St Jacobs, ON – Today, Minister of Health Christine Elliott announced that the Ontario government will invest in improving access to midwifery care. The announcement includes additional funding to invest in the growth of midwifery. With this funding, midwives will be able to provide care for up to 3400 new families and welcome up to 90 new graduates. Additionally, the Ministry is committed to expanding the scope of practice for midwifery to allow midwives to prescribe more medications, making it easier for people in Ontario to access the health care they need.
“Investing in midwifery is smart and moves us closer on the path of health reform that seeks to provide quality, cost-effective care that delivers excellent outcomes. Midwifery is an excellent example of care that supports seamless transitions between community and hospital, is available 24/7, and provides care that places the patient at the centre,” states Elizabeth Brandeis.
“The midwifery work of supporting health and well-being for a pregnant person and welcoming a newborn into a family is sacred work,” says Ellen Blais, Director of Indigenous Midwifery at the Association of Ontario Midwives. “Indigenous midwives are a powerful counter-force against the deep impacts and trauma of colonialism and residential schools and are needed in every Indigenous community.”
Investments, such as this, which improve access to midwifery care are critical, as 4 in 10 people who need midwifery care are turned away because of provider shortage. However, investments must also extend to providers to ensure fairness and sustainability. Earlier this year, provincial cuts to the College of Midwives meant a higher fee burden was downloaded to front-line care providers. Last September, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that midwives have been underpaid because of the gendered nature of their profession. A ruling from the Tribunal, which will seek to close the pay equity gap for midwives, is expected this fall.
“We cannot value midwifery care and undervalue the midwife who provides that care. The two are inextricably linked,” states Elizabeth Brandeis, President of the Association of Ontario Midwives. “The government has acknowledged that the provider experience is a critical part of the current health system transformation; on this we agree. Ensuring midwives are valued and respected for the hard work they do is a critical component of ensuring a high value health-care system.”
There are over 900 midwives in Ontario, serving 89 communities across the province. This year, over 29,000 families will have the care of a midwife. 368 newborns have been born with the care of an Indigenous midwife through the Indigenous Midwifery Program since 2017. Over 240,000 Ontario families have received midwifery care in the past 15 years. With a proven safety record, midwives are experts at providing high quality, evidence-based primary care to clients and their newborns in their homes, and birth centres, and at over 100 hospitals in Ontario. They provide care that Ontario families deeply value. Evidence is clear that the health of communities begins with a fully integrated, culturally safe model of care with families at the centre.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Christine Allen, Manager of Policy & Communications
Desk: 416-425-9974 x 2227 Mobile: 1-416-560-9499