In the last six months, a new generation of patients has been given hope that they will be able to receive the surgery that many had been promised.
The hope comes at a time when the federal government is scrambling to fund more research on a bionic replacement, even as it prepares to send money to provinces and territories that have not yet received enough funding.
The federal government, however, has not announced when it will give the first government-funded bionic implant.
But that is likely to be the first day the federal funding will begin to trickle down.
That has prompted the provinces and the territories to ask the government to step in and give them more certainty.
“We are trying to make sure that we can ensure that there is a full and open process that gives the provinces a level of confidence that this is a project that is in the best interest of them,” said Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews.
Ontario is one of four provinces and one territory, along with Alberta, that has not yet had a bionics implant for their citizens.
Ontario had already been working with a startup company, Bionics, to develop the bionic arm, known as the EnerLink bionic elbow.
But when the startup company stopped work in 2016, Ontario said it would need another three years to get it off the ground.
That left the province with a $7 million gap between its $3.3 billion annual budget for health-care services and what it estimated it would receive from the federal and provincial governments.
It was clear from the beginning that Ontario’s $7-billion shortfall was not going to be filled.
The government was scrambling to get bionic arms on the market before the end of the year, and the startup was already laying the groundwork for a bionetics implant.
In September, Ontario’s health ministry announced it had received a $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The ministry said the grant was the first in Canada to give support to a bioinformatic, or bio-mechanical, prosthetic.
But the funding did not go to the startup, which did not disclose how much it would pay to get its bionic implants to the province.
That was because it had to get provincial approval first, which the startup had not done.
The funding was announced just as Ontario was preparing to send a $3-million contribution to a province, the Northwest Territories, that had not yet started receiving bionic-arm funding.
“It is the first time that Ontario has had an indication that this province is interested in getting a biosignature bionic, and it will allow us to get the bionics onto the market as soon as possible,” said Dr. Peter Tromp, the minister of health, who also chairs the federal health board.
Ontario’s decision to take the first step towards a full-scale bionic is part of a larger strategy to move the world forward on a variety of technological fronts.
In Canada, it is also a way for the province to try to balance its own health-system spending and that of the provinces.
The provincial health budget is already $11.7 billion, with about half going to health services.
And Ontario is not the only province that has been struggling to find funding for bionics.
The province has also been struggling with its own finances.
It has been dealing with a chronic shortage of beds in hospitals.
Ontario has also struggled with its budget, which is not nearly as high as it was when the bionetic arms were developed.
It is not clear if the province will receive any additional federal funding from Ottawa as it does not have the ability to request it from the government directly.
In the meantime, the bifurcation of the health-services budget between the provinces is causing a rift among Ontario’s doctors.
Some doctors say they would like to see more support for their patients, but others say the province should have priority.
“I think we need to work together with Ontario and the federal partners to get this right,” said Professor David Miller, director of the University of Ottawa’s department of bioethics.
“But I think it’s time to acknowledge that there are many parts of the province, not just Ontario, that are doing very well.”