September 25, 2014

The Honourable Dipika Damerla
Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
(Long-Term Care and Wellness)
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
80 Grosvenor Street
11th Floor, Hepburn Block
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2C4

Dear Associate Minister Damerla:

I am honoured to welcome you to your role as Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (Long-Term Care and Wellness). We have a strong Cabinet in place, and I am confident that together we will build Ontario up, create new opportunities and champion a secure future for people across our province. The people of Ontario have entrusted their government to be a force for good, and we will reward that trust by working every day in the best interests of every person in this province.

As we implement a balanced and comprehensive plan for Ontario, we will lead from the activist centre. We will place emphasis on partnerships with businesses, communities and people to help foster continued economic growth and make a positive impact on the lives of every Ontarian. This collaborative approach will shape all the work we do. It will ensure we engage people on the issues that matter the most to them, and that we implement meaningful solutions to our shared challenges.

Our government’s most recent Speech from the Throne outlined a number of key priorities that will guide your work as associate minister. Growing the economy and helping to create good jobs are fundamental to building more opportunity and security, now and in the future. That critical priority is supported by strategic investments in the talent and skills of our people, from childhood to retirement. It is supported through the building of modern infrastructure, transit and a seamless transportation network. It is supported by a dynamic business climate that thrives on innovation, creativity and partnerships to foster greater prosperity. And it is reflected across all of our government, in every area, and will extensively inform our programs and policies.

As we move forward with our plan to grow the economy and create jobs, we will do so through the lens of fiscal prudence. Our 2014 Budget reinforces our commitment to balancing the budget by 2017-18; it is essential that every area adheres to the program-spending objectives established in it. We will choose to invest wisely in initiatives that strengthen Ontario’s competitive advantage, create jobs and provide vital public services to our families. The President of the Treasury Board, collaborating with the Minister of Finance, will work closely with you and your fellow Cabinet members to ensure that our government meets its fiscal targets. The President of the Treasury Board will also lead the government’s efforts on accountability, openness and modernization as we implement new accountability measures across government.

As Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term (Long-Term Care and Wellness), you will lead our efforts to deliver sustainable long-term care to Ontarians and champion a culture of health and wellness in the province. Your work will complement the work of the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in making Ontario the healthiest place in North America to grow up, and grow old. In pursuit of our commitment, I ask that you keep in mind three key goals: people receiving the right care at the right time and in the right place, an accountable, efficient and transparent system — and promoting healthier lifestyles for Ontarians through shared responsibility across government.

Your specific priorities include:

Modernizing and Improving Long-Term Care Facilities

  • Implementing the enhanced Long-Term Care Home Renewal Strategy to modernize and improve long-term care facilities. Your goal is to ensure that Ontarians who require long-term care will get the best care and services to meet their needs.
  • Further strengthening our quality framework for the long-term care sector. You will focus on resident outcomes and will plan appropriately to meet the future need for long-term care services.
  • Partnering with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to explore options for continued changes in the funding of long-term care homes to reflect the care that people need and receive.

Moving Ahead on Health and Wellness Initiatives

  • Continuing to implement the Healthy Kids Strategy and lead the Healthy Kids Ministers’ Working Group to further our efforts in this area.
  • Delivering on our commitment to post calories on menus in food and restaurant chains.
  • Continuing to drive our commitment to a smoke-free Ontario.
  • Partnering with the Minister of Education and others across government — and with schools, community organizations and private organizations — support students to get 60 minutes of activity connected to their school day.

Developing a Health and Wellness Strategy

  • Developing a strategy on community wellness and a culture of health, including ways to provide more culturally appropriate care.

Collaborating on Shared Responsibilities across Government

  • Supporting the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in the drive toward a sustainable, accountable system that provides co-ordinated quality care to people, when and where they need it. You will partner with administrators, health care providers and patients to achieve our commitment for a system that delivers the best quality care to meet the needs of patients — and that continues our success in lowering the growth in health care spending.
  • You will help develop a policy on community hubs, reflecting the perspective of health and wellness. You will do so in partnership with the ministers of Health and Long-Term Care, Education, and Municipal Affairs and Housing — and in consultation with stakeholders.
  • Working with the Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs on health care initiatives that will especially impact seniors.
  • Working with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs on ongoing work related to Aboriginal health and wellness.

We have an ambitious agenda for the next four years. I know that, by working together in partnership, we can be successful. The above list of priority initiatives is not meant to be exhaustive, as there are many other responsibilities that you and your ministry will need to carry out. To that end, this mandate letter is to be used by your ministry to develop more detailed plans for implementation of the initiatives above, in addition to other initiatives not highlighted in this letter.

I ask that you continue to build on the strong relationships we have with the Ontario Public Service, the broader public sector, other levels of government, and the private, non-profit and voluntary sectors. We want to be the most open and transparent government in the country. We want to be a government that works for the people of this province — and with them. It is of the utmost importance that we lead responsibly, act with integrity, manage spending wisely and are accountable for every action we take.

I look forward to working together with you in building opportunity today, and securing the future for all Ontarians.


Kathleen Wynne signature

Kathleen Wynne