Association of Ontario Midwives

Association of Ontario Midwives

September 22, 2011 08:00 ET

Association of Ontario Midwives: Two Out of Three Ontario Political Parties Make Health Care Commitments to Mothers, Babies

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 22, 2011) - Ontario midwives applaud yesterday's announcement from Andrea Horwath outlining the NDP's commitment to funding four birth centre pilot projects. Horwath visited The Midwives Collective of Toronto to announce funding both for birth centres and to strengthen breastfeeding programs. "Ontario midwives are pleased with the NDP announcement unveiling plans to provide greater supports for new moms. In particular, we are heartened by the NDP's support for birth centres and a provincial breastfeeding strategy," said Katrina Kilroy, president of the Association of Ontario Midwives. "We know that birth centres are an innovative solution to improve care and cut costs."

In a recent AOM survey of Ontario political parties, the Liberal and New Democratic parties both made promises that will provide much benefit to Ontario's mothers and newborns. In the survey, the Liberal government stated that "we support piloting birth centres in Ontario and are open to exploring the possibilities for this model." Birth centres do not appear in the Liberal party platform and no formal announcements have been made about a pilot project.

"We are looking for action once the provincial election is over," said Kilroy. "Ontario mothers and their families need to see some real improvements in the system if Ontario is to keep providing the level of care to women that they expect and deserve."

In a survey of Ontario political parties by the AOM, the Liberals and NDP both committed to:

  • Supporting the full integration of midwives into hospitals so midwives may maximize their scope of practice
  • Supporting pay equity between midwives and other comparable frontline health care providers with similar responsibilities.

The Progressive Conservative Party did not respond to the AOM survey.

Ontario midwives have a number of concerns regarding the state of a maternal newborn health care system that sees 40% of women who want a midwife get turned away from care. They are restricted from working to their full scope of practice in approximately 50% of hospitals, triggering costly and medically unnecessary transfers of client care to physicians. Many hospitals have capped the growth of midwifery. Midwives are also significantly underpaid compared to other health care providers, raising concerns that Ontario may be in danger of losing midwives to jurisdictions where they are more highly valued.

More details on each party's survey responses can be found at http://www.ontariomidwives.ca/index.php/support/parties/

About Midwifery in Ontario

There are more than 550 registered midwives in Ontario, serving communities in 85 clinics across the province. Midwives have privileges at most Ontario hospitals. Since midwifery became a regulated health profession in 1994, more than 100,000 babies have been born under midwifery care, including more than 23,000 births at home.

A midwife is a registered health care professional who provides primary care to women with low-risk pregnancies. Midwives provide care throughout pregnancy, labour and birth and provide care to both mother and baby during the first six weeks following the birth.

The Association of Ontario Midwives is the professional organization representing midwives and the profession of midwifery in Ontario.

Contact Information

  • For more information or to set up interviews with midwives,
    please contact: Association of Ontario Midwives
    Sabina Hikel
    Acting Senior Communications Officer
    416-425-9974 x2261 or Cell: 416-871-5817
    comms@aom.on.ca