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Ontario’s health system – key insights offered in interactive ebook

Aug 30, 2017 |

Update - ebook now available!

Ever wondered how the Ontario health system works? You can find answers in our new ebook ‘Ontario’s health system: Key insights for engaged citizens, professionals and policymakers,’ edited by the McMaster Health Forum’s director. The ebook offers significant enhancements over the original print version, including: embedded videos that share further insights from the perspective of citizens, professionals, policymakers and researchers; a glossary that provides definitions of important terms the first time they’re introduced in a chapter section or exhibit; easy navigation within and across chapters through hyperlinks and a search feature; and self tests (with pop-up answers) for those who want to ensure they understood key points. We’re pleased to offer this enhanced experience for readers at the same price as the original print version. It is now available for purchase.

The goal of this ebook is to help make the system more understandable to the citizens who pay for it and are served by it, the professionals who work in it (and future professionals who will one day work in it), and the policymakers who govern it. Each chapter begins with key messages for each of these groups.

Here are some additional details about the ebook.

  • Part 1 describes the ‘building blocks’ of the system, including who gets to make what decisions (governance arrangements), how money flows through the system (financial arrangements), and what and who make up the system’s infrastructure and workforce (delivery arrangements).
  • Part 2 explains how the building blocks are used to provide: 1) care in each of six sectors – home and community care, primary care, specialty care, rehabilitation care, long-term care, and public health; 2) care for four conditions or groupings of conditions – mental health and addictions, work-related injuries and diseases, cancer, and end of life; 3) care using select treatments – prescription and over-the-counter drugs, complementary and alternative therapies, and dental services; and 4) care for Indigenous peoples.
  • Part 3 describes recent and planned reforms to the system and assesses how the health system is performing.
  • The system is complex, so 66 tables and 25 figures have been included to aid understanding, including 16 ‘at-a-glance’ figures that summarize the policies, programs, places and people that are key to understanding particular types of care.

The print version of the book is available for purchase on (or for individuals outside of Canada, on If you are interested in particular topics (e.g., how money flows or how the primary care sector functions), McMaster University is making individual book chapters freely available on the McMaster Health Forum website.

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