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Burlington Ontario Health Team chosen as one of first in Ontario to move forward with health team model

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BURLINGTON, ON – The Ontario government today announced that Burlington will be one of the first communities in Ontario to move forward with establishing an Ontario Health Team.

Jane McKenna, Member of Provincial Parliament for Burlington, made the announcement this morning at the Burlington Family Health Team site located in the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre, before an audience that included patient and family advisors and partners of the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

The Burlington Ontario Health Team is a collaboration of health and social service organizations serving the City of Burlington and surrounding communities. To date, the Burlington Ontario Health Team is comprised of 15 partners and 20 collaborators that represent a wide range of health and social services. Patients, families and caregivers with lived experience are actively engaged in the development of the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

The Burlington Family Health Team is proud to be an inaugural partner and look forward to working with the community in building the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

The vision of the Burlington Ontario Health Team is to co-create a person and family-centred delivery model that wraps health and social services around patients, families and caregivers. The patient-primary care provider relationship is the most enduring relationship that people establish within the health care system. It is a relationship focused on total health and wellness. Primary care is central to the envisioned model, with primary care providers representing the majority of partners in the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

“As a family Physician, I see the challenges in our healthcare system.  Our OHT is focused upon addressing this through improved access, navigation and warm hand-offs throughout our patients’ healthcare journey” says Dr. Harpal Singh, Physician Lead, Burlington Ontario Health Team.

“Our efforts will include securing ways to share health information with our patients and others within the circle of care.  I am heartened by the response from our community primary care physicians and community organizations.  Our partnership is growing as more and more of these key stakeholders join our OHT and we begin to move forward with our plans”.

The Burlington community has a long history of working together. Collaboration and partnership across primary care, acute care, home care, community support services, long-term care and social services has led to the development of a number of integrated care delivery models that will support the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

The Ontario government’s announcement will enable the Burlington Ontario Health Team to move forward with building upon the innovative models that have demonstrated positive patient, provider and system outcomes and continuing to explore ways to offer better, more integrated care. This includes expanding 24/7 navigation and care coordination services for patients and families, and increasing access to digital tools such as virtual visits and patient portals, implemented in phases over time.

“As the Executive Director of the Burlington Family Health Team, I have seen the benefits of providing care from not only a family physician but from other complementary health care professionals” shares Joanne Pearson. “Currently, less than 15 per cent of the Burlington community has access to this type of team-based care. The 15 partner organizations within our Burlington OHT are committed to improving access to this model of care, as well as health education and preventative programs and services.”

“Patient and family advisors are an integral part of the Burlington Ontario Health Team. In this role, our Community Wellness Council is actively engaged in shaping the Burlington Ontario Health Team” says Chloe Gallagher.

“At 15, they called me a miracle patient. Since then, I’ve become a professional patient. I’ve experienced many aspects of our system; from good to bad, paediatrics to now, doctors’ offices to ORNGE helicopters. We have to ensure patients have a strong support network of health care providers, family, and community. That support, combined with advocacy, autonomy, and informed care, is essential to both prevention and treatment of disease.”

“The Burlington Ontario Health Team is a great opportunity to transform the healthcare system from the lens of patients, families and caregivers,” says Sylvia Leonard, Chair of Community Wellness Council. “We have been empowered to play an important role in the planning and design of the OHT. We are looking forward to continuing the work with our Burlington partners on initiatives important to us, including digital access of health information for health providers, patients and caregivers, and the ability for information to flow across jurisdictions; education and prevention with a focus on wellness; and ensuring we continue to do things based on evidence and outcomes.”

The Burlington Ontario Health Team will continue to work closely with our partners, collaborators, and the Ministry of Health to determine how the team will proceed with these initiatives and how it will engage with other Ontario Health Teams.

There are no immediate changes or impacts for patients or providers at this time.

Quick Facts

  • The Burlington Ontario Health Team submitted their full application in October 2019 and hosted a site visit in November 2019.
  • Through the Burlington Anchor Table, the health and social service organizations that are part of the Burlington Ontario Health Team have a strong history of working together to improve care and services.
  • By making services more integrated and accessible, Ontario Health Teams will achieve better patient and population health outcomes, better patient and family experience, better provider experience, and better value and efficiency.

Additional Resources

Burlington OHT in the Media:

Government of Ontario News: 

The Spec:

Inside Halton:

In Halton:


Media Inquiries

Media Relations,

Burlington Ontario Health Team

905-632-3737 Ext. 1283

May 2-8, 2016 is National Mental Health Week

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Each year, 1 in 5 Canadians experience mental health or addiction related challenges.[1] 70% of these problems begin in childhood or adolescents. [2] The economic cost of mental illness in Canada is estimated at $51 billion per year. This includes costs incurred due to time away from work or school; screening, assessment and treatment as well as factors related to poor health outcomes.1, 3 Despite increased knowledge around mental health and addiction, stigma continues to get in the way of early identification, support and effective treatment. So often, many try and suffer through it alone, still believing that they can “pull up their socks” or “will it away”. We know this is not the case.

If you are struggling with mental health or addiction related problems, reach out, get help and speak up. The Canadian Mental Health Association is hosting their 65th annual Mental Health Week. Check out their website and tweet #GETLOUD to get in on the conversation. Together we can make a change.

If you are a patient of Burlington Family Health Team and need support, please see your doctor and ask for a referral to one of our social workers or other services available to you in the community. You are not alone! We care.

Other community resources:

[1] Smetanin et al (2011). The life and economic impact of major mental illnesses in Canada: 2011-2041. Prepared for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Toronto: RiskAnalytica.
[2] Government of Canada (2006). The human face of mental health and mental illness in Canada. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.
[3] Lim et al (2008). A new population-based measure of the burden of mental illness in Canada. Chronic Diseases in Canada, 28: 92-8.