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 6th, 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.
Yesterday, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, released the following statement on the status of negotiations between the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO):
“I am pleased that the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) has agreed to join us in resuming direct face-to-face negotiations.
As a result of this agreement to resume negotiations, the OAO has advised the Ministry of Health that any OHIP insured eye and vision care services that were previously affected by this impasse will resume effective November 23, 2021. Both parties have also agreed to a media blackout on this topic during the course of these negotiations. The Ministry of Health is at the negotiations table ready to reach a timely and fair agreement regarding this important matter.”