Ministry Reports

Interim Report : Ontario's Use of Funding provided by the Federal Hepatitis C Undertaking Agreement

Executive Summary

The Federal Hepatitis C Undertaking Agreement was signed in January 2002. Its objectives included :

  • Addressing the "unique circumstances surrounding the infections of persons with Hepatitis C through the blood system before January 1, 1986 and after July 1, 1990";
  • Increasing "the capacity of publicly financed healthcare programs to ensure that all Canadians infected with Hepatitis C through the blood system have reasonable access to healthcare services used for the treatment of Hepatitis C."

The Agreement differs from the Ontario Hepatitis C Assistance Plan (OHCAP) and the 1986-1990 Class Action Settlement Agreement in that it offers care rather than cash payments to affected individuals. By 2014/15, the Agreement will provide a total amount of $132.6 million to Ontario. As of March 31st, 2004, the province has received $66.3 million and is scheduled to receive a further $22.1M in 2004/05. The Agreement not withstanding, Ontario provides healthcare to everyone affected by Hepatitis C.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has undertaken a preliminary review of the funds in order to estimate the expenditures incurred in the treatment and care of persons with Hepatitis C for the 24 months since the Agreement was signed.

As part of the review, a study group of 29,898 individuals with Hepatitis C was identified using a number of databases (Ontario Drug Benefit Plan, Hospitals, Ambulatory Care, Ontario Health Insurance Plan, Ontario Hepatitis C Assistance Plan, and Public Health Laboratories). It is not possible to determine when and how individuals were infected by HCV from the information available in the records used. As a result, the proportion of the study group infected through the blood system rather than through other risk factors cannot be absolutely determined.

The study group represents approximately 43 per cent of the 70,000 reported cases of Hepatitis C in Ontario. An estimated 8,000 to 15,000 individuals (11 per cent to 21 per cent of the 70,000) were infected through the blood system before 1986 and after 1990. It is also believed that an additional 35,000 to 60,000 individuals may be infected in Ontario with Hepatitis C but not yet diagnosed. The projected number of undiagnosed individuals will be reviewed and the recently announced Hepatitis C Task Force will help develop strategies to encourage them to undergo screening.

The health numbers of the study group were used to identify health services received during a period of two years, following the signing of the Federal Hepatitis C Undertaking Agreement (April 1, 2002 through March 31, 2004). The total costs for this 24-month period follow.

The full report may be downloaded from the link below.

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Ontario's Use of Funding provided by the Federal Hepatitis C Undertaking Agreement
35 pages | 94 kb | PDF format

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November 2004

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