Epilepsy Ontario is disappointed to see no dedicated funding for epilepsy education and support programs in this year’s provincial budget announcement. Epilepsy Ontario and Community Epilepsy Agencies across the province have pushed to include core program funding as part of this year’s budget.
The need for education and support program funding was the key message at this year’s Queen’s Park Action Day and hundreds of members of the epilepsy community sent letters to the Ministers of Health and Finance showing their support. Building on the success of Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario’s Clinic To Community program in measuring the real impact epilepsy education programs can have, the proposal recommended $3-millon in funding for staff to provide epilepsy education and a further $1-million for on-going support. The funding would have helped increase education and support program capacity, particularly in parts of the province that are struggling with few community epilepsy resources.
However, the budget did include funding for Team-Based Interprofessional Health Care programs. While the details of this program are not specific, we will call on the Minister of Health to ensure that epilepsy education and support programs, through Ontario’s Community Epilepsy Agencies, be included as part of this program.
Ontario’s Community Epilepsy Agencies currently provide epilepsy education and support programs with no core funding from the government. By helping fund epilepsy education and support programs, the province could help raise support levels across the province, particularly in areas of Ontario with no community staff, with programs that make a real impact in the live of people living with epilepsy and reduce unnecessary hospital usage.
Epilepsy Ontario and Community Epilepsy Agencies across the province will continue reaching out to MPPs and candidates in the coming election, to ensure they understand the importance of community education and support resources, and the need for a provincial investment in those resources.