Health Bulletin

This document was published under a previous government.

Update: Health System Integration

February 24, 2017

We are pleased to share this update on the work supported by the Patients First Act, 2016. You will also find this update archived at this link. You may also be interested in the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions at this link.

You can count on regular emails like this as your source of ongoing information and updates, which can also be shared with staff members, local stakeholders and other stakeholders and colleagues.

Engaging Patients and Families Across Ontario

The Patients First Act, 2016 requires each Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to strengthen the patient voice in health care planning by creating one or more Patient and Family Advisory Committees (PFACs). This will ensure that patients and caregivers are involved in processes to identify local population health needs, address gaps and improve access to appropriate and culturally sensitive care.

Improving and expanding patient engagement is a key element in the Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care and is an important step in ensuring that health system decision-making reflects the needs and opinions of those it serves. Prioritizing patient engagement in Ontario will mean ensuring that care delivery is responsive to people’s physical, emotional, social and cultural needs. Engaging and empowering patients has been shown to contribute to improved patient health outcomes and experiences. The ministry also recognizes the need to engage patients in all aspects of the health care system, including care delivery, organizational design and governance, and policy-making. As a support to meeting these objectives, the government has mandated that patient and family advisory groups be established at both the local and provincial levels.

To support local engagement, the ministry and LHINs are developing resources which can be used by LHINs as they form new patient and family advisory committees, or build upon existing ones. These include a Terms of Reference, as well as a library of patient and family engagement resources. This work is being done in collaboration with leading patient engagement organizations to ensure the LHINs have access to best practices and leading tools in patient engagement.

As part of continued engagement with patients and families to support the government’s commitments to putting Patients First, the ministry is also engaging with a range of existing patient and family advisory groups, including those established by LHINs, Community Care Access Centres, hospitals and long-term care homes, as well as provincial councils such as those supported by Health Quality Ontario and Cancer Care Ontario. These engagement sessions provide patients with an opportunity to contribute to the implementation of the Patients First Act, 2016, and to inform LHIN planning on patient engagement. The ministry intends to consult with up to twenty PFACs by the end of March 2017.

In addition, as part of Ontario’s Open Government commitment and the Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, the ministry is committed to further expanding patient engagement in Ontario by creating a provincial Patient and Family Advisory Council that will provide advice to the ministry on key priority health care issues. The Council will be composed of patients, families, and caregivers, who will share their health care needs and concerns and provide valuable insight into the policy development process. This Council, along with the LHIN PFACs, will help the health system become more responsive, transparent and accountable to the patients and families it serves.

Recruitment for the provincial PFAC launched on February 13th, 2017 and is being conducted through an open, public recruitment process. After only ten days, over 400 applications for PFAC membership have already been received! For more information on the provincial PFAC recruitment process, please visit For more information on local PFACs, please contact your local LHIN.

Patients First Act, 2016: Implementation Milestones

More Updates Coming

You can expect regular updates like this as we move forward together.

For More Information

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