Ontario’s 2023 Budget Expands Pharmacy Minor Ailments Program

On March 23, 2023, Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy released Ontario’s 2023 Budget: Building a Strong Ontario. The plan focuses on ongoing global economic uncertainty with a responsible, targeted approach to help people and businesses today while laying a strong fiscal foundation for future generations
In keeping with the province’s healthcare action plan (February 2023), we are pleased to note the budget includes an expansion of the minor ailments program, adding mild to moderate acne, canker sores, diaper dermatitis, yeast infection, pinworms and threadworms, and nausea and vomiting in pregnancy to the list of conditions for which pharmacies can provide assessment and prescribing services. This expansion is largely due to incredible uptake of minor ailments services by community pharmacies across the province; in the first two months alone close to 86,000 assessments have taken place.

“Ontario’s community pharmacies and their teams are to be congratulated for their tireless efforts to increase patient access to treatment and care while reducing pressures on Emergency Rooms and other parts of the health system,” says Sandra Hanna, CEO. “Pharmacies have embraced their emerging role as community health hubs providing critical links to public health and primary care services.”

However, there is still much more to be done to secure the sustainability of the pharmacy sector and its ability to contribute to Ontario’s healthcare goals. We look forward to our ongoing work with the Government and pharmacy stakeholders to better enable Ontario’s pharmacies to connect patients to convenient, accessible and timely care in their communities.