Ontario waives three-month OHIP waiting period
Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott answers questions as Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, right, and Premier Doug Ford listen in at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Published Friday, March 20, 2020 4:54PM EDT
The province is waiving the three-month waiting period for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement is the latest regulatory change from the Ford government as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Ontario.
"The health and well-being of Ontarians continue to be our government's number one priority," Minister of Health Christine Elliott said in a statement. "That's why we're working to guarantee that anyone who needs screening or care for COVID-19 will get it. In doing so, we can further help ensure we contain the spread of this virus."
Ontario will also cover the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage, Elliott said.
The measures will ensure that everyone will not hesitate to seek screening or treatment for the virus.
On Thursday, the province announced that it is extending the validity period of driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario photo cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates.
As well, Ontarians with expiring or expired health card would continue to have access to insured health services.
"These changes reduce the need for in-person visits to ServiceOntario, International Registration Plan offices and DriveTest centres during the COVID-19 outbreak, helping to promote social distancing and contain the spread of the virus," the province said in a statement.
Ontario has a total of 308 COVID-19 cases, with 50 new cases announced on Friday. Two people died, while five have recovered.