Ontario expanding midwifery services

Government of Ontario press release – With more than 140,000 babies being welcomed to the world each year in Ontario, families are looking for more options when it comes to choosing their care. That’s why Ontario’s Government for the People is investing in frontline care by expanding access to midwifery services across the province.

On Monday, July 8/2019, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, was joined by Mike Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, at St. Jacobs Midwives in Kitchener to announce that the government is investing an additional $28 million to expand midwifery services in Ontario, which will help up to 3,400 more families access additional choice in primary care during a pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Ontario is also working to responsibly expand the scope of practice for midwives to allow them to prescribe more medications to clients. This change will provide greater choice and convenience for families and reduce the time that patients wait for medications and therapies.

“Our government is protecting what matters most by ensuring families across Ontario have more choices when it comes to delivering their babies,” said Elliott. “This additional funding will mean more expecting families across Ontario will be able to access quality care from a midwife during pregnancy, labour, and birth, as well as six weeks of support once their baby is born. Our investment in midwifery services is part of our government’s commitment to focus health care dollars where they will have the most impact and do the most good for Ontarians — on frontline care.”

These new investments will also:

  • Support up to 90 new midwifery graduates entering the field
  • Increase access to culturally appropriate midwifery care by expanding Indigenous midwifery programs
  • Ensure midwifery practice groups can update their technology to continue providing quality services
  • Commit to ongoing funding for a Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team pilot program to ensure their patients can receive ongoing midwifery care.

Midwifery services in the Waterloo region, where Elliott made this announcement, will receive an additional $1.2 million this year to support the expert, client-centered care provided by midwives.

“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,” said Elizabeth Brandeis, President of the Association of Ontario Midwives. “Midwifery is an excellent example of the care that supports seamless transitions between community and hospital, is available 24/7, and provides care that places the patient at the centre.”

“For more than 25 years, our aim has been to provide high-quality, respectful, and personal midwifery care to the families of Kitchener-Waterloo and the surrounding townships,” said Janessa Otto, RM, St. Jacobs Midwives. “We hear again and again from these families how much they value and depend on our services. We are pleased to welcome Minister Elliott and hope that her announcement today will allow greater access to midwifery care in our region.”

Quick Facts

  • With the government’s new investments, Ontario is providing $178 million for midwifery services this year, supporting up to 35,000 families.
  • Investing in midwifery services is part of Ontario’s plan to create a modern, sustainable, and patient-centered public health care system.
  • Midwives offer a choice in birth settings, including home, hospital or midwifery-led birth centres in Toronto and Ottawa. Midwifery care results in fewer medical and surgical interventions, higher breastfeeding rates and shorter hospital stays.