Ontario Taking Next Steps in Plan to Further Reduce Wait Times for Surgeries and Diagnostic Procedures

Community surgical and diagnostic centres connecting people to faster, more convenient care with your health card

January 17, 2024


As part of the next steps to implement Your Health, a plan for connected and convenient care, the Ontario government is proposing regulatory changes that, would name Accreditation Canada as the inspection body responsible for ensuring the highest quality standards and strong oversight of the 900+ current and all future community surgical and diagnostic centres, effective April 1, 2024.

“When it comes to reducing wait times for surgeries, we aren’t accepting a status quo that leaves too many people waiting too long for care,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Instead, our government is expanding community surgical and diagnostic centres so we can reduce wait times by doing more surgeries in state-of-the-art, convenient and safe facilities, always paid for by your OHIP card never your credit card.”

Given its national leadership role in this type of work for over 65 years, Accreditation Canada has been chosen to develop an enhanced oversight and quality assurance program for current and future community surgical and diagnostic centres that will have the same strong requirements as public hospitals in order to improve quality standards at facilities and ensure consistent patient safety and quality health care. Over the coming weeks, the province will consult extensively with health care sector partners, regulatory colleges representing providers, and patients and families on the development of the new oversight and quality assurance program.

Beginning in Spring 2024, the government will also take the next step in expanding the number of community surgical and diagnostic centres licensed in the province to deliver additional OHIP insured services to people closer to home, including more MRI/CT scans, GI endoscopies, and orthopedic surgeries.

Through the actions taken to date as part of Your Health, Ontario is connecting more people to surgeries and diagnostics care and reducing wait times. Progress over the past year includes:

  • Achieving the shortest surgical wait times of any province in Canada in 2023, with nearly 80 per cent of people receiving their procedure within clinically recommended target times;
  • Reducing the surgical waitlist since its peak in March 2022, resulting in 16,000 fewer people waiting for the surgeries they need;
  • Eliminating the backlog of cervical cancer screening tests at the end of August 2023. Testing turnaround times returned to the pre-pandemic standard of 10 to 14 days;
  • Completion rates of pediatric surgeries are reaching 112 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, as of December 2023; and
  • Increasing diagnostic imaging capacity by an additional 97,767 MRI and 116,443 CT operating hours.

As Ontario continues to make progress implementing Your Health, the government will continue making bold, innovative and creative changes to make it faster and easier for people to conveniently connect to care closer to home.

Quick Facts

  • People are encouraged to submit any questions or feedback on the proposed regulatory changes to surgicalfeedback@ontario.ca
  • For over 30 years, community surgical and diagnostic centres (formerly known as Independent Health Facilities) have been a part of Ontario’s publicly funded health care system. These community-based health care centres are licensed under the Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act (ICHSCA) and provide a range of OHIP insured services.
  • With more than 65 years’ experience, AC is the largest and most comprehensive oversight and assessment provider for Canadian health care and social services. In Ontario, AC establishes quality standards for Ontario public hospitals and medical diagnostics who also participate in AC’s accreditation program.
  • There are currently over 900 licensees in operation throughout Ontario, with the majority of them providing diagnostic imaging services.
  • Every community surgical and diagnostic centre must have a process for receiving and responding to patient complaints.