April 3rd, 2024

NDP calls for solutions to address language-barriers in primary care

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition NDP MPPs Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre), Jessica Bell (University – Rosedale), and Chris Glover (Spadina – Fort York) joined Dr. Henry Pang to call on Ford’s Conservatives to put patients first as more Chinese-speaking Ontarians are struggling to find primary care in their communities and in their language.

“Access to necessary health care is every Ontarian's right,” said Wong-Tam. “Yet, studies show health outcomes are poorer for newcomers, the elderly and others living with vulnerabilities when they don’t have universal access to health care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate to them."

“We can fix the family doctor shortage in Chinatown by providing team-based care and more administrative support to doctors, removing barriers for internationally trained healthcare professionals, and providing translation services.” added Bell.

Glover said "over 2 million Ontarians don't have a family doctor. In Chinatown we have 5 doctors serving the Chinese community who have already retired and 2 more who are retiring soon, leaving 10,000 people without a doctor. The time for action is now."

The Ontario NDP are calling on the Ford government to ensure every Ontarian has access to good primary care by establishing and expanding non-profit and public primary care clinics, fast-track the recognition of internationally trained family doctors and nurses’ credentials, increase the number of family residency positions, and reduce the administrative burden on family doctors to make the job more attractive for them.


  • MPP Jessica Bell’s office identified that of the 24 doctors operating in the downtown Toronto area, 80% of them have been practicing for 43 years or more, meaning they were nearing or at retirement age.
  • The Ontario College of Family Physicians calculates that 2.2 million Ontarians are without primary care. That number is expected to escalate to 4.4 million in 2026.
  • On December 6, Ontario's acting Auditor General said one in five patients who visited the province's overwhelmed emergency departments were only there because they did not have a family doctor.