Ontario Increasing Access to Primary Care in Eastern Ontario

DURHAMOntario is connecting more people to primary care in their communities by increasing access to primary care teams across the province, including in city/riding. This includes increasing the number of nurse practitioners across Ontario to make it faster and easier for people to access primary care when they need it, closer to home. 

“Our Government is proud to recognize all nurses for the quality of care they provide to all patients across Ontario and Durham Region, and we will continue to support these front-line heroes as we deliver the high-quality health care when and where Ontarians need it” said Todd McCarthy, MPP for Durham. “This new pilot program in cooperation with Carea Community Health Centre is one of many examples of how our Government will invest the resources necessary to hire the front-line personnel needed to deliver faster and more efficient healthcare.”

“As we celebrate Nurses Week, let us take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the incredible dedication, compassion, and hard work of our nurses” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. “Our government recognizes that access to primary healthcare is essential for the well-being of all Ontarians. We are proud to see Carea Community Health Centre carrying this pilot project and support newborns in families who do not have a regular family doctor. This will ensure the residents of Pickering-Uxbridge and Durham Region have the access to the care they need.”

“May 8 th to 14th is Nursing Week in Canada, an opportunity for us to recognize the incredible registered nurses, nurse practitioners and registered practical nurses working in our Province,” said Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier. “Thank you for your compassion and dedication to keeping patients safe and healthy in the Town of Whitby and other parts of the Region of Durham.”

“I’m proud of our governments steadfast commitment to supporting the frontlines of our healthcare system by highlighting the value and contributions of our nurses and attracting more nurses to learn and work in Ontario, keeping our hospitals moving at the pace they should,” said Patrice Barnes, MPP for Ajax. “To all of our nurses in Ontario, Peter Bethlenfalvy MPP, Pickering-Uxbridge Lorne Coe MPP, Whitby Patrice Barnes MPP, Ajax Todd McCarthy MPP, Durham please accept my deepest gratitude and applause for your unwavering dedication to keeping your community healthy and safe.”

To strengthen the health care workforce and ensure care is there for people when and where they need it, the province is adding 150 more education seats for nurse practitioners starting in 2023-2024, bringing the total number of new seats to 350 each year. Expanded access to education opportunities for nurses will also be provided by adding up to 500 registered practical nurse and 1,000 additional registered nurse education seats in 2023-2024. This is in addition to the 1,500 nursing education spots added in 2022-2023.

“This Nursing Week, May 8-14, I want to applaud nurses across Ontario for the invaluable role they play in providing connected and convenient care across this province,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We are building the health care workforce by increasing education spots for nurses in all regions of Ontario and will continue to invest in programs to train, recruit, and retain more nurses as we build a stronger, more resilient health care system.”

In the region, the government is investing in: 

  • a new Family Health Team site in the Town of Carleton Place to improve access to interprofessional primary care and provide alternatives to seeking care in ERs in an area where there are no walk-in clinics;
  • a pilot program in Durham region, through Carea Community Health Centre, supporting newborns in families who do not have a regular family doctor. This will include hiring two new Nurse Practitioners to provide baby visits and immunizations, a new Registered Nurse to support primary care services and an additional Social Worker to provide counseling support to families with newborns;
  • a new satellite Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic in Belleville to connect residents with more primary care services. The new satellite Belleville clinic will include hiring additional Nurse Practitioners, a Registered Nurse and a Social Worker;
  • new education spots to train 386 Registered Practical Nurses and 64 Registered Nurses.

To improve access to primary care in areas of greatest need and help bridge the gap in accessing interprofessional primary care for vulnerable, marginalized, and people without a primary care provider, Ontario is expanding and creating up to 18 new interprofessional primary care teams.  Ontario will call on primary care providers and organizations such as Family Health Teams, Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics, Indigenous Primary Health Care Organizations, and Community Health Centres to begin the application process.

Growing interprofessional primary care teams, supporting mental health and increasing education opportunities for health human resources in every region will ensure that people can get the care they need right in their own communities.


Interprofessional primary care teams include doctors, nurses, socials workers, and other health care professionals who work together to provide comprehensive primary care programs and services based on the needs of their communities.