In 2012, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care announced funding for two new free-standing midwifery-led birth centres. In 2014, the two new centres opened in Ottawa and Toronto, allowing individuals in midwifery care to choose between home, hospital, or birth centre for place of birth. The opening of the birth centres was an important opportunity to learn about the implementation process and clinical outcomes of this new model in Ontario.

An evaluation of the first year of operations of the two new Ontario birth centres using BORN Ontario data found that:

  • Compared to midwifery clients giving birth in a hospital, midwifery clients who chose to give birth at a birth centre had significantly less interventions, even when controlled for their body mass index (BMI) and previous caesarean birth.
  • The care provided by midwives in the birth centres was in alignment with current best practice recommendations.
  • Delivering at an Ontario birth centre was safe for this population, with low rates of poor maternal and newborn outcomes.