VON helps facilitate midwifery practice groups

VON is well known for providing care to seniors and people with disabilities, but we also help facilitate midwifery services for mothers and babies in northeastern Ontario. VON is a Transfer Payment Agency (TPA) in the area, working with midwifery practice groups on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

Most midwives in Ontario work in practice groups. Each practice group has a contract with their local TPA. Negotiated by the Association of Ontario Midwives with the Ministry, the contract establishes the skills, effort, responsibilities, working conditions and compensation structure for midwives. As a TPA, VON has a contract with the Ministry’s Ontario Midwifery Program and supports and flows funding to the practice groups and fulfils reporting requirements.

VON also supports the practice groups in maximizing their funding. They write letters of support for enhancements and develop new and innovative programs to help mothers in all sectors, including vulnerable populations, Amish communities, Indigenous peoples and uninsured clients.

VON has been a TPA for close to two decades. In that time, the program has expanded from practice groups in North Bay and Sudbury to 10 groups. They are located in Huntsville (Muskoka), Manitoulin, Parry Sound, Temiskaming, Timmins, North Bay, Attawapiskat and Sudbury, with two Indigenous practice groups in Elliot Lake and North Bay. Each location has from one to 10 midwives, with 35 midwives in total in the region. Each midwife provides prenatal and postnatal care for 35 to 40 births annually.

Midwifery Program Supervisor Mary-Jo Racine says midwifery care plays an essential role in northern Ontario. “It's really important overall, and especially up in more remote areas like Attawapiskat because of the need for medical care there,” she notes. “Throughout the years, I've seen what the midwives do, and I have a lot of respect for them.”