THUNDER BAY — NDP MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan Judith Monteith-Farrell recently introduced a bill in the Ontario legislature that she says would ensure the Northern Health Travel Grant is reviewed and improved, and that northern Ontario residents get the support they need to access health care.
Her Northern Health Travel Grant Advisory Committee Act would see the establishment of an advisory committee to consult with northern families and health care workers. The committee would submit recommendations to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on how to improve the program.
“People across northern Ontario have been clear that the Northern Health Travel Grant isn’t working for them, and that there are serious problems with it,” Monteith-Farrell said. “Constituents contact my office every week to say the Northern travel grant isn’t covering their travel costs, that the reimbursement rates offered are too low, and that wait times to get reimbursed are far too long.
“That the current travel grant program expects low-income families and seniors on a fixed income to pay for travel costs upfront and out-of-pocket is unacceptable. For many, this is not just difficult but impossible, especially given the long delays to get the money back," she adds.
“No one should have to rack up credit card debt because of a health care appointment, or have to go without seeing a doctor because they cannot afford it,” said Monteith-Farrell.