Liberal cuts won’t fix hospital overcrowding: NDP

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has released new information showing evidence of overcrowding in many Ontario hospitals. Documents obtained by New Democrats through Freedom of Information show acute care beds in hard-hit regional hospitals as well as large urban hospitals are over 100 percent capacity in hospitals across the province – and reveal that the Liberal government has no standards or best-practices for managing hospital occupancy. 

“When Ontarians need health care, it should be there for them. But today, at the same time as many Ontario hospitals are filled to capacity, the Liberals keep cutting hospital services, laying off health care workers, and closing beds,” said Horwath. “It’s clear that health care is the silent crisis of the Wynne government. The Liberals refuse to even admit that hospital overcrowding is a problem in Ontario.”

New Democrats obtained records showing that many of Ontario’s acute care hospital beds are regularly operated at or above 100 percent capacity, significantly exceeding internationally recognized safe occupancy rates. Through a separate request, New Democrats also learned that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care “does not have standards, guidelines, policies, or best-practices with respect to hospital bed occupancy as it relates to hospital operations.”

Over the reporting period, occupancy rates of 100 percent or higher have been reported at large hospitals and crucial regional health care centres, including:


  • Toronto SickKids (The Hospital for Sick Children)
  • London Health Sciences Centre – University site
  • Hamilton Health Sciences – Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre
  • Sault Area Hospital – Sault Ste. Marie
  • Peterborough Regional Health Centre
  • Toronto Rouge Valley Health System – Scarborough Centenary and Ajax/Pickering sites
  • The Ottawa Hospital – Civic and General sites
  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
  • Brantford General Hospital
  • Windsor Regional Hospital – Oullette Campus

“Overcrowded hospitals mean long wait times for patients. The Liberals should be tackling this problem and protecting hospital services, but instead the Premier keeps cutting frontline health care workers and closing beds,” said Horwath. “Liberal cuts mean that small, regional hospitals as well as large urban hospitals are struggling. The cuts to Ontario’s hospitals must stop. People need health care you can count on.”

The Liberals have frozen hospital base operating budgets for four straight years, and once again, in 2016, funding will not keep up with inflation and population growth. Since the 2016 Budget was released, Ontario hospitals have continued to announce new rounds of cuts and bed closures. 

New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to stop cutting hospital services by ensuring that hospital operating funding keeps up with inflation and population growth, at a minimum, each and every year – and by placing a moratorium on any further nursing cuts.