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Ontario Training More Doctors in Northern Ontario as it Builds a More Resilient Health Care System

SUDBURY — The Ontario government is increasing the number of both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education positions at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) University as part of its plan to train and retain more doctors across Ontario and to build a stronger, more resilient health care system. This will ensure there are enough doctors to meet future health care needs in the North.

Details were announced today by Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities and Prabmeet Sarkaria, President of the Treasury Board.

“Ontario’s health care professionals are some of the finest practitioners in the world and that is a testament to the education they receive through Ontario’s universities and colleges,” said Minister Dunlop. “This expansion will increase access to family and specialty physicians and other health care professionals in every corner of the province to ensure that Ontarians can access the health care they need, when they need it, wherever they may live.”

NOSM, established in 2005, educates health care professionals to practise in Indigenous, Francophone, rural, remote and underserved communities. At present, there are 64 undergraduate medical education seats and 60 postgraduate positions. NOSM University will receive 30 additional undergraduate seats by 2026 and 41 additional postgraduate positions by 2027.

“As our government continues to make record investments to build up our health care infrastructure, we’re ensuring that we have the trained professionals needed to care for a growing Ontario,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, President of the Treasury Board. “After years of chronic staffing shortages, budget cuts, and neglect from previous governments, we’re expanding medical school spaces across Ontario, and giving the eager students of today the opportunity to become the skilled doctors serving our communities tomorrow.”

Ontario’s medical school expansion is part of the government’s A Plan to Stay Open, a comprehensive package of legislative amendments that would increase capacity in the health care system and strengthen the government’s ability to respond to future emergencies. Ontario is adding 160 undergraduate seats and 295 postgraduate positions over the next five years, the largest expansion of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in over 10 years.

“Training more doctors in northern Ontario is a critical part of our plan to build a better, more resilient health care system for communities in the North,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We are building up the health care system by providing opportunities for our doctors of tomorrow to join our health care workforce to support the care needs of Ontarians for years to come.”


Quick Facts

  • A Plan to Stay Open is the government’s strategy to ensure all Ontarians have the stability they expect and deserve in the face of an emergency.
  • The institution will be established as the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University, effective April 1, 2022.
  • To strengthen the health and long-term care workforce, Ontario is investing $342 million, beginning in 2021-22, to add over 5,000 new and upskilled registered nurses and registered practical nurses as well as 8,000 personal support workers. In addition, Ontario is investing $57.6 million, beginning in 2022–23, to hire 225 nurse practitioners in the long-term care sector.

Quotes

“Training more doctors at local schools will strengthen the health care workforce in northern Ontario. The opportunity to learn at home has tremendous benefits for our students, postsecondary institutions and our communities while continuing to improve the health care the people of northern Ontario deserve.”

– Vic Fedeli
MPP for Nipissing and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

“It is critical that we train more doctors at NOSM to address health care worker shortages in the North. By investing in these additional training spaces, we are building a more equitable health system, while strengthening the foundation for broader and more responsive health services across northern Ontario.”

– Greg Rickford
MPP for Kenora-Rainy River and Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry

“We are grateful to the Government of Ontario for its commitment to improving the health outcomes of northern Ontarians. NOSM University will lead innovative health professions education as Canada’s first independent medical university. The addition of 30 medical degree and 41 residency spots over the next five years contributes to the much-needed health care system transformation in the region, eliminating the gaps in physician shortages and creating equitable access to care.”

– Dr. Sarita Verma
President, Vice Chancellor, Dean and CEO, NOSM University


Additional Resources