Ontario Hospitals Asked to Take a Planned Approach to Ramping Down Elective Surgeries

Published on March 15, 2020

Actions aimed at preserving capacity as cases of COVID-19 continue to grow

March 15, 2020
TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, released the following statement on elective surgeries and other non-emergent clinical activity:

"Since we first learned of COVID-19, Ontario has been diligently monitoring and taking decisive action to contain the spread of this new virus and ensure the province's health care system is ready for any scenario. At the same time, we must also carefully consider how to best maximize resources and prioritize services. 

After consultation with the Ontario Hospital Association, and with the support of Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, the province is requesting that all hospitals further implement pandemic plans by carefully ramping down elective surgeries and other non-emergent clinical activity. In doing so, hospitals can preserve capacity as cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in Ontario.

As hospitals move forward with the implementation of their pandemic plans and decisions on their operations, we are asking them to follow three guiding principles:

  1. Use an ethical framework to guide decision-making;
  2. Prevent high risk and occult transmission; and
  3. Develop and preserve capacity within our system.

The approach that we are taking will provide the necessary discretion for hospitals to make decisions based on local circumstances, while preserving the ability for the province to take a more prescriptive approach, should it be warranted based on evidence.

I would once again like to thank all of Ontario's health care providers who are working tirelessly each day to ensure that the health and well-being of Ontarians is being protected."