The NDP hope to fix the Northern Health Travel Grant as gas prices continue to rise.
One MPP is bringing the issue to light, Judith Monteith-Farrell, NDP MPP for Thunder Bay – Atikokan, is calling on the provincial government to increase the Northern Health Travel Grant as the cost of travelling, including gas prices due to inflation, continue to rise.
The Northern Health Tavel Grant allows Northern Ontario residents who must travel long distances for medical care, to receive financial assistance.
“People in Thunder Bay who are dealing with illness are getting into debt to pay for the increasing cost of travel to get the care they need because the Ford government never fixed the Northern Health Travel Grant,” said Monteith-Farrell.
Monteith-Farrell cited the case of one constituent who claims her travel costs for medical care in Manitoba have increased by 30 percent since the beginning of the year for which the Northern Health Travel Grant milage rate has not reflected.
“People that need to travel for medical care are struggling, especially because they have to pay upfront and wait for reimbursement. It’s putting people into debt, and others just can’t afford to get the healthcare they need,” said Monteith-Farrell.
“When is this government going to raise the rates for the travel grant? People can’t afford to wait for this government to do the right thing. They’ve been waiting for nearly four years now for something to improve,” she continued.
She concluded “Everyone in this province has a right to get the healthcare they need, whether they are in Thunder Bay, Atikokan or Toronto. This government must fix the Northern Health Travel Grant and finally begin treating Northern Ontario residents equally.”
This is not the first time that Monteith-Farrell has raised concerns about the grant. In December of 2019, Monteith-Farrell said “Northerners have been clear that the existing Northern Health Travel Grant doesn’t work for them, offering reimbursement rates that are too far below the costs of travel, long wait times and an unfair expectation that people pay travel costs upfront.”