Doug Ford in Hamilton to announce hundreds of new medical school seats in Ontario

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Published March 30, 2023 at 11:23 am

Premier Doug Ford says his government is prioritizing helping Ontario residents become doctors and nurses here at home.

In a press conference on Thursday morning at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ford announced $33 million in funding over three years to add 100 more undergraduate medical school seats and another 154 postgraduate medical training seats, beginning in 2024.

He says the new seats will be prioritized for Ontario residents to ensure less students need to leave the province to study elsewhere.

“One of the things I hear all the time from families is that a lot of students are being forced to leave the province for medical school […] because they can’t find a residency spot right here in Ontario,” said Ford.

“Meanwhile, students from other countries are learning here, but then they return home after that. I find that unacceptable.”

The premier says the new seats will help put qualified Ontario students “at the front of the line” as the province trains the next generation of doctors.

The announcement was made at McMaster’s Health Sciences Library, where Ford also commended McMaster for being one of the top 15 universities in the world for the study of medicine and life sciences.

Ford was joined by Minister of Health Sylvia Jones and Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy.

“Increasing the number of doctors and other health care workers will make it easier for Ontarians to connect to world class health care right in their own communities,” said Jones.

The $33 million in funding is part of the new provincial budget released last week, which details a boost in funding for hospitals, pediatric care, mental health and home care.

The province said it plans to invest more than $15 billion in new funding over the next three years on health care, including an $850 million increase in funding to hospitals – a four per cent boost in base funding – plus $200 million to address health-care staffing shortages across the entire system.

“The pandemic, we’re through that, now it’s the time to pivot to make sure we have investments, long-term sustainable investments, in our health-care system,” Bethlenfalvy said after the new budget was unveiled.

“It’s not just about acute care. People want to be cared for at home or in the community at lot more so we’re increasing the funding by over half a billion dollars for home and community care.”

In Brampton, more medical school seats are already on the way — a new medical school for the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), formerly Ryerson University, is expected to open as soon as 2025 at the Bramalea Civic Centre.

The city’s Chinguacousy branch library, as well as several other tenants at the civic centre, are expected to relocate to make room for the new school.

With files from Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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