Smith encouraged Loyalist College, local health providers may benefit from standalone nursing announcement



Belleville - Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, believes Loyalist College and the Quinte region will benefit from Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano’s announcement this morning the Province is planning changes to allow colleges to offer standalone nursing degree programs.

Romano announced that pending a regulatory amendment under the Nursing Act, 1991, all colleges and universities would be able to apply to offer standalone degree nursing programs subject to receiving necessary approvals from the College of Nurses of Ontario and the government. Previously, colleges were required to partner with universities to be able to grant degrees.

“These proposed changes will allow colleges including Loyalist increased autonomy and a chance to deliver excellent nursing education in one location,” said Smith. “That will lead to improved access for students who don’t have to leave their community to pursue their education.”

Smith noted Loyalist College has been a keen advocate for the proposed changes. Currently, students in its collaborative nursing degree program spend two years in Belleville, then complete their bachelor’s degree with two years at Brock University in St. Catharines.  The college’s President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan said the distance between communities is not only a barrier to program participation, but it also may be having an impact on health services in the area.

“Fewer than five per cent of our collaborative nursing degree graduates return to work in the Bay of Quinte region where we really need them,” said Vaughan. “Providing students with the option to complete their nursing degree at Loyalist will improve health care delivery in our communities by attracting more individuals into nursing professions here.”

Vaughan said Loyalist believes it is positioned well to develop a sustainable, in-demand program due to its demonstrated faculty expertise and academic excellence in health-related programs as well as its state-of-the-art integrated health and human studies learning environment on the third floor of the Northumberland Wing.  The Province supported the redevelopment of that wing.

Carol Smith Romeril, the Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Quinte Health Care said the local hospital corporation is “delighted with this great news for Loyalist College and our community. We look forward to welcoming students and graduates into our care environments.”

The policy changes may also allow for laddering pathways that could see personal support workers and registered practical nurses stay in their communities and train to qualify as registered practical nurses and registered nurses, which are both in need in the region.

Smith believes there is a clear benefit for the Quinte region in allowing students to complete their training here.

“Students completing their courses and practical placements in one community have a chance to develop professional and personal connections there,” he said. “Upon graduation, it is only natural for them to build on those ties as they start their careers.”

Romano said changes like the provision of standalone nursing programs show Ontario remains responsive to the needs of its people.

“Safeguarding Ontario’s competitiveness and building Ontario’s economy means ensuring our postsecondary institutions are training students for the jobs of today and the future. That is why Ontario is introducing a new pathway for nursing education, to offer greater choice for students.”


  • To become a registered nurse in Ontario (and a member of the College of Nurses of Ontario), students must obtain a baccalaureate degree in nursing.
  • Except for Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, which have independent nursing programs, all other institutions in Ontario offer nursing programs for future registered nurses through a collaborative partnership.
  • Since the collaborative nursing education model was implemented in 2000, postsecondary education and health systems have grown and evolved. Many colleges now have experience in delivering and managing degree programs.
  • Successful implementation of this new policy is dependent on the Ministry of Health working with the College of Nurses of Ontario to amend a regulation made under the Nursing Act, 1991.
  • Providing institutions with the option to continue a collaborative partnership or offer a stand-alone program for future registered nurses allows greater flexibility in meeting particular needs in local communities, while continuing to equip students with the skills and training necessary to meet the standards of care Ontarians deserve from our healthcare professionals.




Ontario recognizes Bell Let’s Talk Day, supports mental health initiatives in Quinte region



Bay of Quinte – Approximately 30 per cent of Ontarians will experience a mental health and addictions issue at some point in their lives. Every year, two million Ontarians go to their family doctor for a mental health or addictions challenge.

Today on Bell Let’s Talk Day, Canadians across the country are joining in on the conversation about mental health. Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte is encouraging Ontarians to come together to take action on mental health and help create positive change.

“Mental health affects all of us,” said Smith. “Everyone in our communities can get involved in the important conversations that are taking place on Bell Let’s Talk Day and take action to help those who may be struggling.”

Whether by phone, email or text, there is no better time than today for those in Bay of Quinte to reach out to one another, talk about mental health and how each member of this community can work together to help those who are struggling.

Ontario is committed to creating a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system that works for all Ontarians. That is why the province invested an additional $174 million to expand community-based mental health and addictions services this past year, including supporting people and families in Bay of Quinte by enhancing peer support programs, opioids addiction treatment and services, youth mental health supports, and supportive housing.

“I encourage everyone to take part in Bell Let’s Talk Day and help to create positive change,” said Smith.And I urge you to continue these important conversations not just today, but throughout the year so that together we can make a difference in our communities.”

Ontario is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to create new mental health and addictions services and expand existing programs. Locally, the Quinte region stood to benefit from $1,273,045 in new funding through the $174 million announcement last spring.  Service providers welcomed the investment.

"This funding is completely dedicated to front-line addictions and mental health clinical support for people who are seeking clinical recovery from the challenges associated with opioid use and to enhance clinical case management and counselling for both addictions and mental health,” said Addictions and Mental Health Services – Hastings and Prince Edward chief executive officer Gary Laws. “Many thanks to the Province for recognizing how imperative these supports are here to the citizens of Hastings and Prince Edward because this will create more opportunity to serve more clients.”

The Quinte Healthcare Corporation’s mental health program director Kerry-Lynn Wilkinson said the investment should also help limit hospitalization and re-hospitalization.

“Making additional investments in mental health in the region will strengthen services available to help individuals receive the care they need in the community, helping to reduce the number of individuals seeking mental health services at the emergency departments of QHC hospitals,” she said.

Also, the Province recently committed $900,000 toward a skills training program offered by the Canadian Mental Health Association to help people facing barriers find stable employment. 

“This is an incredible project that will help those who face barriers when it comes to finding work,” said Smith. “This will have a transformative impact not only on these individuals, but also on the public services that support them, and on our broader Quinte region economy.”

If you are in need of mental health supports, consider reaching out to service providers in our region...

Addictions and Mental Health Services - Hastings-Prince Edward - 613-976-4734

Canadian Mental Health Association - Hastings and Prince Edward - 613-969-8894

Children's Mental Health Hastings Prince Edward - 613-966-3100/613-476-8252

Peer Support South East Ontario -  613-969-0122





Belleville to receive $1,371,540 from Province to offset court-related policing costs


Belleville – The Ontario government is providing the City of Belleville $1,371,540.72 through the Court Security Prisoner Transportation Program this year to offset policing cost associated to the operations of the Quinte Consolidated Courthouse.

The funding, which has increased from the City’s 2019 allocation of $1,345,904.19, is part of $125 million distributed to municipalities across Ontario with courthouses. Allocations are based on the share of prisoner transports in each municipality in relation to the total across Ontario.

“We’re committed to working with our municipal partners to ensure that we have effective court security, while not creating too great a burden on their policing budgets,” said Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte.

Belleville Police Service Chief of Police Ron Gignac was pleased with the funding allocation.

“We thank MPP Smith and our provincial government for providing this funding that allows us to operate a safe and secure courthouse. Along with staffing the consolidated courthouse security, we are able to safely and efficiently transport those in custody to and from various correctional institutions,” said Gignac.