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Northern Ontario Travel Grant: Everything You Need To Know
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Bill to fix the Northern Health Travel Grant returns
A northern Ontario MPP has reintroduced legislation to have a committee fix and improve a travel grant that helps people in the north access medical treatment not available locally.
NDP Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha retabled a bill to review the Northern Health Travel Grant (NHTG), which helps pay for transportation and accommodations for health care located at least 100 kilometres from the resident's home.
Citing continuously rising gas prices, Mantha would like to see a committee comprised of northern health care providers and grant recipients come up with recommendations for the provincial health minister to improve travel reimbursement costs.
"People in the north are not getting the same access to health care because of the high cost of travel," the MPP said.
"By refusing to raise the NHTG rates, the Ford government is putting a massive burden on northern Ontarians who are already struggling with inflation and price gouging."
Currently, the transportation reimbursement is calculated at 41 cents per kilometre based on return road distance travel less 100 kilometres.
Hotel reimbursement ranges from $100 to $550 depending on how many nights.
CTV News has reached out to Sylvia Jones, the Ontairo minister of health, for comment and is awaiting a response.
A spokesperson for the Ontario NDP told CTV News in an email no vote has been scheduled yet on this bill.
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New Tourism & Travel grant to provide Ontario businesses with one-time payments
Post date: May 14 2021
Date: May 14 2021
By: Travelweek Group
TORONTO — More aid is coming to travel agencies and small tourism businesses, courtesy of the Ontario government’s just-announced $100 million grant.
Announced today by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant will provide one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to support eligible small tourism and travel businesses struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Small business owners can use the grant in whatever way makes the most sense for their business. Applications for the grant will close on Friday, June 25, 2021. For information on eligibility and how to apply go to www.ontario.ca/covidsupport .
According to MacLeod, the grant will support businesses that did not receive the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG), which include travel agents, hotels, motels, resorts and bed and breakfasts. To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020.
“Prior to the pandemic, Ontario’s tourism generated more than $36 billion in economic activity and supported more than 400,000 jobs across the province,” said MacLeod. “Our government is working with small businesses to overcome the challenges of the past year – through programs like the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant – and help the tourism industry reclaim its place as an economic powerhouse and key job creator in our province.”
Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board, noted that the 2021 Budget made room to include funding for the new grant.
“We know that tourism businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, as people and employers follow the necessary public health measures to keep people safe,” he said. “The Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant will provide direct one-time payments to help thousands of businesses in Ontario.”
As announced in the 2021 Budget, Ontario is investing more than $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support tourism, hospitality, culture, sport and recreation sectors. This builds on investments of $225 million announced earlier, bringing the total support for these sectors to more than $625 million since the pandemic began.
According to Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, the government will be ready to deliver payments to the tourism businesses that have faced revenue loss, which will complement fee relief already provided to travel agents and wholesalers earlier in the pandemic.
“This substantial grant will support their bottom line and help them keep Ontarians safe until we can once again enjoy travel with friends and family,” said Thompson.
Register Now! Travelweek’s ‘Future of Travel: Sunnier Days Ahead’ will take place Wed. May 19, from 1 – 3 p.m. Click here to register now, travelweekfutureoftravel.com
Tags: Breaking News, Lead Story, Ontario, relief
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Backlog for health travel grant claims blamed on hiring freeze, MPP says
Nickel belt's france gélinas says reduced staffing level at sudbury nhtg office causing backlog.
Northerners who have to travel to points south for medical reasons know all about being out-of-pocket for expenses.
The Ministry of Health helps defray those costs with travel grants, but recently some families have had to wait longer than usual to be reimbursed.
The Northern Health Travel Grant (NHTG) provides a portion of the cost when an individual must travel at least 100 kilometres one way to access the closest medical specialist, or healthcare service not available in their home area.
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Ken Obansawin's six-year-old son has cystic fibrosis and must visit Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto at least twice a year for check-ups, but more visits are needed if there's a problem.
The family drives south the night before the appointment, stays in a hotel and then drives back to Hanmer the next day.
It adds up to about $400 in travel expenses, some of which they get back through the Northern Health Travel Grant.
The family submits a claim after each visit and then gets reimbursed, usually, six weeks later.
Obansawin says last October they submitted a claim, and then waited 12 weeks for the cheque from the Ministry of Health.
"You get your credit card balance and you get a bit of money back. It helps out a little bit, but this way here, it's just so far gone and you're booking the next hotels and you still haven't been paid," he said.
The family had already booked their hotel accommodations for the upcoming March appointment in Toronto, and still hadn't received the October claim payment.
Obansawin took the details of the delay to his MPP.
Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas says she's heard from other northern families who are stressed by similar delays, Some have been waiting as long as four months.
Gélinas, who is the NDP Health Critic, believes reduced staffing levels at the ministry's health travel grant office in Sudbury, are to blame.
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"To me the answer is clear: backfill those positions. The people of northern Ontario need those workers to be there to process those claims," Gélinas said.
The Sudbury location the only site that processes the claims and payments for the travel grant program.
"It is not acceptable that a government puts people through so much stress and hardship on the fact that they don't want to hire. The civil service has to provide a level of service."
Ministry of Health reviewing service delivery of NHTG
In an email to CBC News, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care didn't elaborate on what the problem is. But did say it was reviewing the service delivery of the NHTG program.
The ministry admits the processing of travel grants is taking about 10 weeks, but says processing staff is working to return to service delivery standards of six weeks.
According to the same email, the Ministry of Health says it is currently in the planning phase of providing payment delivery through electronic bank deposits, and that once available, it will expedite the processing of health travel grants.
Claims and receipts for the Northern Health Travel Grant must be mailed or submitted to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's NHTG office on Larch Street in Sudbury. There is no online version to submit a claim.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angela Gemmill is a CBC journalist who covers news in Sudbury and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @AngelaGemmill. Send story ideas to [email protected]
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- Northern Health Travel Grants
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O. Reg. 20/94: NORTHERN HEALTH TRAVEL GRANT
Ministry of Health Act Loi sur le ministère de la Santé
ONTARIO REGULATION 20/94
Amended to: O. Reg. 507/00
NORTHERN HEALTH TRAVEL GRANT
Note: This Regulation was revoked on August 31, 2000. See: O. Reg. 507/00, s.1.
This Regulation is made in English only.
1. (1) In this Regulation,
“health care facility” means,
(a) a hospital,
(b) the Speech Foundation of Ontario, Toronto Children’s Centre, or
(c) a centre or facility designated by the Minister;
“Northern Ontario” means the districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Timiskaming and Thunder Bay;
“patient” means a person who is entitled to insured services under the Health Insurance Act and the regulations made under that Act;
(a) a physician who holds a certificate issued by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in a specialty, or
(b) a dentist who holds a specialist certificate issued by the Registrar of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario or an equivalent certificate issued by the Manitoba Dental Association.
(2) This Regulation applies only with respect to a patient who ordinarily resides in Northern Ontario.O. Reg. 20/94, s. 1.
2. The Minister may pay a patient a grant for travel, other than by ambulance, if the patient has travelled between the place in Northern Ontario where the patient ordinarily resides and a health care facility or the office of a specialist located in Ontario or Manitoba.O. Reg. 20/94, s. 2.
3. (1) A grant may be paid to a patient only if,
(a) the travel is for,
(i) services for which the patient, before travelling, has been referred to a health care facility or specialist by a chiropractor, dentist, optometrist or physician who is in Northern Ontario at the time he or she renders services to the patient upon which the referral is based,
(ii) the first follow-up assessment by the health care facility or specialist in connection with services it, he or she rendered under subclause (i) within the previous six months,
(iii) services that include a course of treatment for an illness, disease, condition or injury designated by the Minister and provided by a health care facility or specialist in connection with services rendered by that health care facility or specialist under subclause (i), or
(iv) services that include an abortion;
(b) the patient’s travelling distance, calculated in accordance with section 6, is more than,
(i) 100 kilometres if the health care facility or specialist’s office is in Northern Ontario or Manitoba, or
(ii) 200 kilometres if the health care facility or specialist’s office is in a part of Ontario other than Northern Ontario;
(c) the patient is travelling solely for the purpose of receiving services at a health care facility or specialist’s office;
(d) the patient pays a fare for the transportation with money or accumulated airline travel credits, unless the patient is travelling by a motor vehicle other than a commercial bus;
(e) in the event of travel to or from a hospital or a specialist’s office, the services received are considered insured services as defined in section 1 of the Health Insurance Act ; and
(f) the patient is not entitled to recover, and does not recover, all or any part of the cost of transportation.
(2) In clause (1) (f),
“cost of transportation” means the cost of the patient being transported from one place to another, but does not include the cost of meals or accommodation associated with being transported.
(3) A grant is not payable to the patient if he or she travels without any charge or travels for a nominal or service charge only, unless the patient is travelling by a motor vehicle other than a commercial bus.O. Reg. 20/94, s. 3.
4. (1) The Minister may pay a grant for a companion who travels with the patient only if,
(a) the companion accompanies a patient who is travelling in accordance with subsection 3 (1);
(b) either the patient is less than sixteen years old, or the referring health professional gives a written opinion, before the travel takes place, that the patient is unable for health or safety reasons to travel without a companion;
(c) the sole purpose of the companion’s travel is to accompany the patient;
(d) the companion pays a fare for the transportation with money or accumulated airline travel credits, unless the companion is travelling by a motor vehicle other than a commercial bus; and
(e) the companion is not entitled to recover, and does not recover, all or any part of the cost of transportation.
(2) In clause (1) (e),
“cost of transportation” means the cost of the companion being transported from one place to another, but does not include the cost of meals or accommodation associated with being transported.
(3) A grant is not payable to the companion if he or she travels without any charge or travels for a nominal or service charge only, unless the companion is travelling by a motor vehicle other than a commercial bus.O. Reg. 20/94, s. 4.
5. (1) A separate application must be submitted for each grant.
(2) An application for a grant must be made within the twelve-month period following the last day on which the specialist or health care facility rendered services under clause 3 (1) (a) to the patient.
(3) An application must be made on a form provided by the Minister and must be accompanied by receipts for any fares paid.
(4) An application for a grant for a patient or a companion must include all information that, in the Minister’s opinion, is considered necessary for determining eligibility for the grant.O. Reg. 20/94, s. 5.
Calculation of Grant
6. (1) The amount of a grant for a patient or companion shall be calculated by multiplying $ .305 times the number of kilometres which comprise the travelling distance, one way, for the patient or companion.
(2) The travelling distance to or from a health care facility or specialist’s office is,
(a) calculated in accordance with subsection (3); and
(b) the distance between the place where the patient ordinarily resides and the nearest health care facility or specialist’s office that is capable of rendering the service, for which the patient is referred, without a delay that would result in medically significant deterioration in the specific illness, disease or condition for which the patient is being or has been referred.
(3) The travelling distance between the two places described in clause (2) (b) is,
(a) if the two places are joined by highway, the shortest distance by highway between the localities in which the two places are located or to which they are closest, as determined by the Minister; or
(b) if the two places are not joined by highway, the shortest distance between the localities in which the two places are located or to which they are closest, as determined by the Minister.O. Reg. 20/94, s. 6.
Restrictions on Grants
7. (1) If two or more patients travel in the same motor vehicle other than a commercial bus, a grant may be paid only to the first patient who applies for, and is eligible to receive, a grant.
(2) If a patient and a companion travel together both ways by a motor vehicle other than a commercial bus, only one grant is payable and it shall be divided equally between the companion and patient.
(3) If a patient travels one way by ambulance, the amount of the patient’s grant payable to him or her shall be reduced by one-half.
(4) Despite subsection (3), if a patient travels one way by ambulance and the companion travels both ways by a motor vehicle other than a commercial bus, only one grant is payable and it shall be divided equally between the companion and patient.
(5) If a patient travels one way by ambulance and the companion travels both ways in a manner other than described in subsection (4), the full amount of the companion’s grant shall be payable to the companion.O. Reg. 20/94, s. 7.