Rural and Northern Health Panel Takes Shape

McGuinty Government Strengthening Health Care in Rural and Northern Communities

July 28, 2009

Ontario has officially announced the members of the new Rural and Northern Health Care Panel.

The panel, to be chaired by Kirkland and District Hospital CEO, Hal Fjeldsted, will provide recommendations to the government on how to better coordinate the delivery of health care services in Ontario's rural and northern areas.

The panel's members represent a broad range of stakeholders and health care professionals who will draw on their experiences working in rural and northern areas of Ontario.

The panel will highlight current programs and services targeting northern and rural communities, identify rural and northern Ontario's unique health care challenges and recommend steps the government can take to improve access to health care in rural and northern Ontario using existing resources.

The panel will provide a report and recommendations to the government this winter.


"I am committed to improving access to quality health care for people who call rural and northern Ontario home. The diverse skill sets of Rural and Northern Health Care Panel members will prove to be invaluable as we take steps towards strengthening health care for the people in these communities."
- David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

"Rural and northern communities are facing difficult and complex challenges. I look forward to working with the panel to develop a planning framework to deliver the best health care possible for rural and Northern communities. We have assembled a team with broad representation to take on this important task and I am confident that everyone will rise to the challenge."
- Hal Fjeldsted, Chair, Rural and Northern Health Care Panel


  • More than 4.8 million Ontarians live in rural areas of the province, while more than 780,000 people live in northern Ontario.
  • The panel's work will complement the province's Underserviced Area Program, which is aimed at attracting and retaining health care providers to underserviced areas in Ontario.
Members of Ontario's Rural and Northern Health Care Panel

Source: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care