The Ontario Ministry of Health has announced it will delay the recovery of monies it provided to Ontario physicians via the COVID-19 advance payment program. Recovery payments will now begin in April 2021 (not February 2021). The program, which provided advance payments in the form of a loan to Ontario physicians, was purportedly aimed to help physicians sustain their clinical practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per our 2020 Budget submission, there are two major drawbacks to the program. First, it is a loan. Second, the loan recovery period remains a short six months (i.e. April – September 2021) i.e. a period of time when the province will still be dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For cardiologists providing community-based services to be sustained over the long-term, it is imperative that the COVID-19 Advance Payment Program be converted to a stabilization grant; alternatively, the government must give consideration to changing the terms of the payment recovery period from commencing in April 2021 to the fiscal year 2022-23.