AFP News

Ontario Directive on Naming Hospitals Is Revoked

The Hospitals Branch of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario has revoked its two-year directive that restricted the naming of hospital corporations and individual hospital sites.

In a letter sent to hospital board chairs on Dec. 18, the Ministry announced that the directive was no longer in effect.

The naming directive had required hospitals to seek approval of the Ministry for any proposed corporate or business name changes of a hospital corporation, site or individual building. In addition, no corporate and business names could include a corporate or business name of a corporate donor, or the name of an individual or family, without an exemption from the Ministry.

AFP has been working with the Ontario Hospitals Association (OHA) and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy on seeking to change the directive, citing concerns about the encroachment on matters of hospital governance; the inequity of its application to hospitals but not in other public-sector institutions; and the potential chill on philanthropic giving in the hospital sector.

“We are really pleased to see this change of heart by the Ministry and its recognition of the importance of transformational philanthropists in health care funding,” said Ken Mayhew, president & CEO of William Osler Health System Foundation in Toronto and chair of AFP Canada’s Communications Committee. “Many thanks to AFP members and our partners for helping make this happen and the education and awareness that was created by their efforts.”

Ministry Expectations on Hospital Naming

In the letter, the Ministry reiterated its expectations about hospital naming activities, including:

  • Each hospital should have in place a naming policy to ensure a consistent approach to the adoption of corporate and business names.
  • Meaningful consultation with stakeholders and the community concerning the adoption of a proposed name is an essential step in determining whether to adopt a new corporate or business name.
  • A hospital corporation and business names are valuable assets to the hospital and community. A decision to adopt a new corporate or business name in recognition of philanthropy should be made where the level of philanthropy corresponds with the value of that asset.
  • Any agreement concerning the adoption of a corporation or business name should not include a contractual term to the effect that a hospital will use a name indefinitely.
  • Hospitals will continue to provide the ministry's Hospitals Branch with notice of the anticipated adoption of a new corporate or business name.

Questions about the revocation of the directive can be directed to the Ministry’s hospital branch by emailing

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