Public hospitals are independent corporations run by their own board of directors. As set out under the Public Hospitals Act, boards are responsible for day-to-day operational decisions on how to allocate the public funding they receive. They are accountable to Ontario Health and the government for the quality and efficacy of the care they provide.

Funding and administration

Ontario Health is a Crown Agency created through the Connecting Care Act, 2019 (CCA) to oversee Ontario’s health care delivery, improve clinical guidance and provide support for health care providers to ensure better quality care for Ontarians. Ontario Health is responsible for the funding, management, and coordination of Ontario’s public health care system.

On April 1, 2021, the non-patient care functions of Local Health System Integration Networks were transferred to Ontario Health, including responsibility for funding health service providers such as hospitals.

Under the CCA, Ontario Health is required to enter into service accountability agreements with their health service providers.

Hospital funding

Ministry of Health funding for hospitals falls into two categories:

  • Targeted — Approximately 40% of ministry funding is targeted. This means the funding is linked to selected services (such as cancer care, critical care, surgeries, specialized services, etc.) or beds within hospitals.
  • Non-targeted — The remaining 60% of ministry funding is non-targeted. This means hospitals can use this funding to support their core programs and services. The services offered by each hospital will differ depending on hospital administrator decisions to meet the specific population/patient needs.

Total number of public hospitals

As of February 1, 2023, there are 140 public hospital corporations in Ontario. Many hospital corporations have several sites.

Note the number of hospital corporations and hospital sites are subject to change.

Ministry of Health covered costs

For insured persons under the Health Insurance Act, the following items are covered:

  • all physician services
  • nursing care and diagnostic services such as laboratory tests and X-rays
  • accommodation, including meals, for hospital in-patients is covered at the public ward level (individuals or private insurance would have to pay some or all of the fees the hospital charges for private or semi-private rooms)
  • medications provided to hospital in-patients and out-patients

Note: Certain limited medications are provided to out-patients for use at home. Once an in-patient is discharged, the costs of prescribed medications are not covered.

Hospital visits solely for the administration of drugs or vaccines are also not covered.

How to make a complaint about a public hospital

Hospitals are required to have a patient relations process that reflects the hospital's Patient Declaration of Values, which outlines what patients and their families can expect when they visit the hospital.

For any complaint or concern about the care provided, patients or families may contact the Patient Advocate or Patient Relations Office of the hospital directly. In smaller hospitals where there may be no such role, the President or Chief Executive of the hospital would handle complaints.

If your concerns cannot be resolved through the hospital’s patient relation process, you can contact the Patient Ombudsman. This office is helping to strengthen the voice of patients and their families in the Ontario health care system. The Patient Ombudsman also plays a critical role in ensuring that patients receive high quality care, as it can both help patients and their families find a resolution to their complaint and provide recommendations to the government that will improve the health care experience for all people of Ontario.

Their office can be reached through the following methods: