Ontario Expanding Support for Families Experiencing High Risk Pregnancies

Toronto Health Partners Build New Perinatal Palliative Program


April 9, 2018

The Ontario government is supporting Emily’s House Paediatric Hospice, Sick Kids, Mount Sinai Hospital and other health service providers in Toronto to expand support for families experiencing high risk pregnancies. 

Ontario Budget 2018 announced support for families experiencing high risk pregnancies through a new perinatal hospice project.  This funding will support 2 new pilot projects, starting in Toronto and Ottawa and will help expectant parents get the support they need during this difficult time.

Perinatal hospice is an innovative and compassionate model of palliative care that supports parents following a baby’s prenatal diagnosis of a life limiting condition expected to result in death prior to, or shortly following, birth. Perinatal palliative care aims to provide families with the supports they require, before and after birth and death, as well as ensuring access to bereavement support.

The new Perinatal Palliative Program will:

  • ► improve access to the right providers and services in a timely fashion
  • ► improve connections to the services families need, ensuring their care and service delivery is coordinated and integrated
  • ► support families to make the decisions and choices that are right for them


Supporting families experiencing high risk pregnancies is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.


“As prenatal testing continues to advance, more families are finding themselves facing this difficult situation, yet too few supportive care options are available. For too many years, this has been a subject we were not supposed to talk about. So programs for pregnancy loss have not existed in our hospitals. Perinatal hospice care helps fill that need.”

– Mike Colle, MPP Eglinton-Lawrence  

“The Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network is pleased to support the new perinatal palliative program that will provide much needed support to families experiencing high risk pregnancies. This initiative is a great example of the strong partnership and collaboration between the LHIN, local providers and community partners to help ensure families have more access to supportive and compassionate palliative care services.”

– Susan Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network

“Currently at Emily’s House, our perinatal programs journey with families following the birth of their child for whom the future may be uncertain at best. Newly born infants with serious medical illness and their families can enjoy time together in a home like setting, away from the lights and noise of the ICUs, celebrating every moment. We look forward to working with our partners to enhance supports, choice and ensure seamless hospice palliative care for all families when and where needed.”

– Rauni Salminen, CEO and Founder of Emily's House


The Toronto Central Palliative Care Network (TCPCN) is a partnership of community stakeholders, health service providers and health systems planners who are developing a coordinated and standardized approach for delivering palliative care services in the Toronto Central LHIN. The Network is a joint endeavor between the Toronto Central LHIN and the Toronto Regional Cancer Programs.

As part of the 2016 Budget, Ontario announced an additional investment of $75M in hospice and palliative care over the next three years

In the 2018 Budget, Ontario announced an additional $10M in funding starting in 2018-19. This additional spending will be on top of the $80 million already invested in hospice and palliative care, bringing the total investment to $165 million from April 2016 to April 2019.


  • Ontario Strengthening Access to End-of-Life Care
  • Emily’s House
  • SickKids
  • Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care