The provincial Public Hospitals Act and its regulations set out the framework for the operation of most hospitals in Ontario.  There are more than 200 hospital sites in Ontario that come under this Act.  Treatment in hospitals is free as long as you have coverage through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).  If you have health coverage through another provincial/territorial/federal health plan, for example if you are visiting Ontario, you will also likely be covered, but you should check directly with your health plan regarding coverage.  All services are covered by OHIP while in hospital with a few exceptions (see “Chronic Care Co-payment” below).

Ontario also has a few hospitals that are governed by the Private Hospitals Act.  These are specialty hospitals providing very limited services. While these hospitals are privately owned, your fees are covered through OHIP in the same way as in a public hospital..

Public hospitals are further classified and graded (from Group A to V) depending on the type of hospital and services they are entitled to provide (see Classification of Hospitals - Regulation 964).  A list of hospital locations and classifications by Ontario Health can be found here.

Some public hospitals and other facilities are designated as “Psychiatric Facilities” under the Mental Health Act.  If they are a “Schedule 1” facility, this means that they are entitled to detain a person under the Mental Health Act, and have specific requirements and obligations with respect detention, consent to psychiatric treatment, financial capacity, etc.

ACE can give legal advice to the older adult whose rights are in issue, or their legally authorized substitute decision-makers on problems with hospital admission, detention or discharge.  We can also give legal advice on improper hospital charges and pressure to discharge a patient to an inappropriate discharge destination.