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Government of Ontario/YouTube screen shoot, April 30, 2024

Changes coming to travel grant program

By Randy Thoms May 3, 2024 | 2:48 PM

Several changes are being made to the Northern Ontario Health Travel Grant.

The program reimburses people who have to travel to access healthcare not available in their community.

Beginning this fall, the province will begin implementing the changes that will include an online application form that provides for digital receipt submissions to make reimbursement fast.

The need for a signature from the referring healthcare provider will be eliminated, and more eligible healthcare providers and locations will be added.

The government also plans to remove the 100-kilometre deductible, allowing people to be reimbursed for every kilometre they travel.

The accommodation allowance for overnight trips is increased from $100 to $175 per night, with the allowance for stays eight days or longer going from $550 to $1,150.

The travel distance requirement to be eligible for accommodation allowance will be reduced from 200 kilometres to 100 kilometres.

“We know that for too long, patients in northern Ontario have faced unique challenges when accessing healthcare,” says Jones.

“That is why our government is asking and putting in action to expand access to care in every corner of Ontario. And our investments to expand and enhance the Northern Health travel grant will ensure more people in northern Ontario can connect to the specialized care they need when they need it.”

The government is setting aside $45 million over three years to implement the changes.

In 2022-23, approximately 170,000 Northern Health Travel Grants were processed to support approximately 66,000 northern Ontario residents.

The Ministry says 98% of eligible applications were paid within four to six weeks.