Advocacy in Ontario

The Ontario Branch Government Relations Committee coordinates provincial advocacy activities and provides leadership and support to the Foundation to identify, respond to and influence public policy issues relevant to the mission of the Foundation and to people affected by kidney disease. Members include dialysis and transplant patients, family members, nephrologists, allied health professionals, Kidney Foundation volunteers and staff.

Our advocacy and government relations goals are:

  • to inform and educate the public, government, politicians, and other organizations and agencies about the needs of people affected by kidney disease, and
  • to influence the development of public policy to ensure that the needs are being met.

The Kidney Foundation in Ontario has produced many reports and submissions and fact sheets on a range of important issues. We advocated successfully for the expansion of dialysis facilities across the province and the establishment of both the Trillium Gift of Life Network and Ontario Renal Network. We also encourage and support individuals to advocate on their own behalf through the provision of workshops and links to other resources.

Keeping the conversation going
about changes to Out of Province claims

Thank you to our amazing community for stepping up and raising your voice recently about how changes to out of province health claims would affect you, your loved ones and our kidney community.

The elimination to the Out of Province Claims, Ontario Regulation 522 under the Health Insurance Act sent a message to our community, to patients, caregivers and health care providers, “if you can not afford to pay the full costs of your hemodialysis treatments outside of Canada, you can not afford to travel”. This will have significant impact on those who are well enough to travel out of country for work, to visit family for emergencies or for leisure.

There are 12,000 Ontarians requiring life sustaining dialysis treatments. Out of those 80% are receiving hemodialysis treatments three times a week or more. This change to Out of Province Claims has a small financial impact to Ontario’s overall health budget and yet has a significant impact on the lives of those affected by kidney disease.

People are being advised to access private health insurance. Unfortunately, to our knowledge, there are currently no insurance companies in Ontario that have agreed to cover expenses incurred for travellers outside of Canada who require hemodialysis treatments because of a pre-existing condition.

What is The Kidney Foundation doing?

We are continuing the dialogue with government officials in all parties to make the voice of kidney patients heard. Alternative solutions can be found and the Foundation wants to work collaboratively to address this matter.

Click here to read a copy of the initial letter submitted by The Kidney Foundation to the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care about this matter.

What can you do?

Please take action by speaking with your MPP and share your concerns about how the proposed changes to Out of Province Claims will affect you. Not sure who your MPP is? Click here for a full list of Ontario MPPs with their contact information.

We'd appreciate knowing if you are able to connect with your MPP so we can track progress with this important issue. Please email us or call 1.800.387.4474 ext.4970.


A Call to Action:
Reduce the Financial Burden of Kidney Failure

Kidney failure comes at high financial cost for many Ontarians.

The ongoing theme of our advocacy messaging is Reducing the Burden of Kidney Disease in Ontario, focusing on two key issues all elected officials need to know about.  The Kidney Foundation of Canada recently released a report that shows a significant proportion of Canadians undergoing dialysis treatments experience financial hardship as a result of the extra costs associated with kidney disease. In addition to the emotional and physical strain that often accompanies kidney failure, a financial burden exists that Canadian patients bear. This burden has been ignored for too long.

At a time when their kidneys are failing them, the fairness of our healthcare system is also failing individuals living with kidney disease.

The Issue

Many people receiving renal replacement therapy are unable to work in the same capacity as before their requirement for treatment because of how their symptoms make them feel and the time commitments related to their treatment needs and the additional medical appointment requirements.

• 45.7% of the Ontario respondents indicated that their income is below the Canadian Low Income Cut off (LICO)
• 46% of those who responded, indicated that their household income decreased dramatically after the initiation of dialysis treatments. For those whose household income had decreased, 51% of respondents indicated that their household income decreased by 50%.
• 49% of the Ontario respondents indicated that their annual household income was less than $35,000 and 31% indicated that their household income was less than $20,000.
• There are increased out-of-pocket costs related to travel expenses to and from dialysis treatment centres, especially in rural areas or where there is a lack of access to available, accessible and affordable public transit systems.
• The proportion of patients on dialysis who are below Canada’s Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) is much higher than the general population.
• 36% of patients who are below the (LICO) indicated that they have missed purchasing medications and 33% reported that they had missed going without food or basic necessities within the last 6 months of completing the survey.

Personal Stories

Ontario Recommendations

  • Develop a Medical Transportation Assistance Program to subsidize transportation costs to attend dialysis treatments, where there is no access to available, accessible and affordable public transit systems.

  • Reduce the financial burden of accessing medications for people receiving dialysis treatments by eliminating the Trillium Drug Benefit Deductible.

    These relatively small changes can have a significant impact on improving the quality of life for those living with kidney disease.

Take Action

  • Download the Advocacy Tool Kit
  • Engage with your local elected officials, including MPPs, Minister of Health, Mayor and City Councillors
  • Visit the MPP in your riding (Click here for a list of MPPs and Ridings)
  • Send a letter to your MPP, Minister of Health, Opposition Critic- Health (download sample)
  • Write a letter to the Editor in your local newspaper
  • Tell us about your experience. How has kidney disease caused a financial burden for you and your family? Email to share your story.
 advocacy tool kit

Read the National Report

  • Many Canadians report a drop in household income as a result of starting dialysis.
  • The proportion of patients on dialysis who are below Canada’s Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) is much higher than the general population.
  • Out-of-pocket costs related to dialysis treatment are a significant burden.
Financial Burden Report cover page



The Kidney Foundation of Canada takes a leadership role in advocating for policies and programs to meet the needs of people living with chronic renal insufficiency.

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is the act of supporting or arguing in favor of a cause, policy or idea. Its goal is to influence public opinion and societal attitudes (e.g., by promoting organ donation) or to bring about changes to government, community or institutional policies, for instance, by advocating for the establishment of provincial renal planning committees.

Who can advocate?

Advocacy covers a broad range of activities that can include almost anyone:

  • Self-Advocacy:  the person who is directly affected by an issue or situation speaks up for him or herself and takes action to change it. The Kidney Foundation encourages individuals to act on their own behalf and plays a supporting role by providing information and suggestions for individual action.
  • Individual Advocacy:  An individual or organization acts with and for the person with the concern. The Kidney Foundation has a limited ability to take on individual cases. Fortunately, most renal programs have nephrology social workers as part of the renal team. Part of their role is to advocate on behalf of patients to ensure they have access to services for which they are eligible. 
  • Group Advocacy:  A group or organization or coalition of groups work together to seek changes to existing policy or to set new policy for a specific community or group of people. This is the type of advocacy the Kidney Foundation in most often involved in.

How can you get involved?

Patients, family members, renal professionals, Kidney Foundation volunteers and interested members of the community at large can all play a role in advocacy.

To find out about advocacy initiatives in your region, contact your local Kidney Foundation Branch.



Ontario Branch - 1599 Hurontario Street, Suite 201, Mississauga, ON L5G 4S1 - Tel.: (905) 278-3003 / 1-800-387-4474
Charitable Registration Number: 107567398RR0001