Hospital  >  Welcome  >  Safety, Strategy, & Management  >  Sunnybrook 2018-21: Planning our future together

Welcome to Sunnybrook’s strategic planning web page. This section of our website has been designed to provide information on our planning process for anyone interested in following along. You will also find information on how you can get involved and have your say.

Our planning process

Our process to develop the plan is to work through September 2017 to May 2018 on creating a strategy that will go to the Board of Directors for final approval in the spring of 2018.

Our work during this period involves a significant amount of consultation and engagement with people who work in the hospital, with those who rely on Sunnybrook for care, and with our partners in the community.

Sunnybrook develops strategic plans in three-year cycles. This is done primarily to keep things fresh and responsive to the changing landscape in health care.

It is also done this way to make sure the hospital is in tune with the evolving funding formula with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

What’s new & where we are in the process

Important pieces to consider in creating the plan

When creating the strategic plan for the hospital there are a number of opportunities and challenges that have to be taken into consideration when coming up with a recommended strategy:

Patient demand is growing

Each year Sunnybrook cares for more than 1.2 million people and that number is growing. In fact, the demand for care has outpaced our physical space and our allotted funding. We simply don’t have the room or the funding to care for everyone who wants to be seen at Sunnybrook.

For example in 2006, we saw about 40,000 patients in our ED. Last year, that number jumped to 61,000. In just over 10-years, we have seen a dramatic increase in need but not an increase in the number of available in-patient beds, which in fact have decreased in the same timeframe.


Hospital funding in Ontario is a complex formula that takes into consideration criteria such as the level of care required for a patient and the amount of time the person may spend in hospital. Each year the hospital spends about $900 million to operate its facilities and care for 1.2 million patients. Although that’s a large amount of money, the actual costs of running the hospital exceed what we receive each year in revenue, which forces Sunnybrook to find savings of about $20 million every year to achieve a balanced budget. To achieve its vision, the hospital also relies heavily on the philanthropic support of its community and partnerships with private enterprise and government. Whatever strategic decisions the hospital makes, they have to consider the ongoing financial health of the organization.


Sunnybrook is a research-intensive hospital. Each year, we conduct more than $100 million in research that spans the spectrum from early thoughts and ideas that are explored in a lab to large studies that look at the health and wellbeing of populations of people. Through this strategic plan we are looking at how our research agenda will be defined for the next three years to address some of the most challenging issues facing our health care system. For example, through this plan, we are working to create a strategy to develop ‘personalized’ approaches to medicine that use medical imaging technologies (MRI, ultrasound, etc.) to determine success factors for treatment.

Sunnybrook's dual role

The hospital exists in a defined community or catchment area. However, many of our programs and services provide care that is unavailable in communities across the province, so the hospital is an Ontario-wide resource for patients who for example may have a major burn injury.

As a result, Sunnybrook provides less complex care for residents within the defined neighbourhood catchment area. The reasoning for this is to encourage people to access more straight-forward care at a hospital closer to home. However, for those people with difficult health issues, we serve the entire province. Balancing these responsibilities can be a challenge when people want to access Sunnybrook for care they can receive closer to their home.


Sunnybrook exists in a broader health care system and through this plan, the hospital will work to improve its role by creating connections with care providers in the community. A hospital doesn't exist on its own and cannot operate effectively without relationships and partnerships with fellow institutions and organizations in the community. Through this plan, Sunnybrook is strengthening its ties to organizations beyond its walls to help ensure there is continuity in care from hospital to home.


Sunnybrook is affiliated fully with the University of Toronto and provides educational opportunities for many other college and university students. About 4,000 students come to Sunnybrook annually as part of their education. Students at Sunnybrook comprise part of the workforce in caring for patients. An important element of our strategic plan will be to determine both how the student experience at Sunnybrook can continue to be improved and to explore further, how we can learn more from patients and families.

Mission & vision

Sunnybrook has a mission to be there when it matters most for people and to invent the future of health care. This means that the hospital focuses on caring for the most critically ill and injured patients in the province with the most innovative and specialized care available. Through this plan, Sunnybrook is interested in exploring new ways to treat and prevent illness and injury and to be on the leading edge of discovering what will come next in health care. Emphasis for future investment and resources will be primarily be in those areas of the hospital that are aligned to and achieving the hospital’s mission and vision.

Patient experience & quality of care

Working to improve the quality of patient care and experience with Sunnybrook are important elements of this plan. As factors such as the age of the patients in our population changes, Sunnybrook is looking to put services in place to improve the patient experience for seniors for example.

Strategic directions

With this cycle, there are four main strategic directions the hospital is focusing on to form the basis of the organization’s strategic plan. There are teams of people, both who work for the hospital and our partners, who are working together to build these into areas of focus for Sunnybrook.

We want your feedback

What do you think about our draft goals and objectives? Two different ways to share your feedback:


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