May 4, 2018

New Primary Health Care Model Coming to Waterloo Region

Ontario Investing in More Primary Care, Nurses, Mental Health Across the Province


Waterloo, ON – Ontario is providing more people with better access to high-quality health care closer to home, with a new team of health care professionals coming to Waterloo Region. This initiative and investment is in support of the Wellbeing Waterloo Region focus on affordable housing, and our commitment to mobilize the community to end chronic homelessness in Waterloo Region by 2020.

The new primary health care model will equitably connect people who have complex social and medical needs in Waterloo Region with a range of health care professionals (such as physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, outreach workers and social workers) to address a broad variety of healthcare needs, including mental health and chronic disease management. This health care model will bring relationship-based services to people where they are already are, including accessing care at a social or community service agency (for example, in a shelter, soup kitchen, or from a mobile van).

Team-based health care clinics help empower patients and their families and encourage them to be active participants in living healthy lives. Ontario is creating new and expanded primary care programs and services in order to respond to the health and social service needs of communities across the province, including Franco-Ontarians, newcomers and seniors.

Ontario’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of Medicare in a generation.


“Our government is committed to ensuring everyone in Ontario has access to high-quality primary care, closer to home. The support of interprofessional primary care teams in the community is an important and significant step toward achieving this goal.”

— Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“Building trusting and safe relationships is central to providing services to people with complex social and medical needs. The ability to collaborate with services already providing support will allow more effective service delivery and provide people with the opportunity receive the services they want, where they want them. Working together with the person and other service providers will help us to best use this precious new resource to maximum effect. This will make a real difference for people in our community.”

— Eric Goldberg, Executive Director, Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre

“The new Interprofessional Primary Care Teams in Waterloo Region will not only provide essential services for individuals with barriers to access, it will facilitate the implementation of  new and innovative approaches to partnerships among health and social service providers. We know that health and well-being improve when individuals, the community, and the system work together to increase access to care and help address the social determinants of health.”

– Bill Davidson, Executive Director, Langs 


  • The Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network will receive $1.477 million to improve access to primary health care for residents who have had barriers in accessing traditional primary care services as part of Ontario’s commitment to expand access to interprofessional primary care across the province.
  • Residents of Waterloo Region have low access to primary health care teams; it is also estimated there are nearly 6,000 residents who are complex, vulnerable and unattached to primary care.
  • In alignment with the provincial strategy to bring care to where people are, this health care model will complement existing social and community services.
  • In the 2017 Budget, the province made a commitment of $15.5 million for 2017‑2018 and an additional $27.8 million in 2018‑2019 to create and expand interprofessional primary care teams (Family Health Teams, Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics, Community Health Centres) focusing on areas with the greatest needs. 
  • Ontario has also committed $329.2 million over five years to recruit and retain interprofessional primary care professionals.
  • There are currently 294 interprofessional care teams across Ontario delivering care to more than four million people.
  • The province is providing $23 million per year over three years to improve care coordination for complex patients through the Health Links initiative.



Media Contact:
Connie MacDonald
Director, Communications & Community Engagement,
Waterloo Wellington LHIN 519-748-2222 ext. 3235