PET Scans Ontario
About PET

PET scan services in Ontario

The PET Scans Ontario program (the Program) is committed to an evidence-based approach in the provision of PET scans across the province. PET Scans Ontario in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care works to coordinate PET scan services and ensure access to PET services as supported by research.

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The Program is guided by the best available evidence for the appropriate use for PET scanning and aims to improve transparency, accountability and equity to PET scan services across Ontario.

Our mandate includes these focus areas:

  1. Accountability for the PET Steering Committee
  2. Oversight of insured PET scan services
  3. PET Registry
  4. Select clinical trials guided by the PET Steering Committee
  5. PET Access Program
  6. Continual evidence review

Funding for PET services

PET scans in Ontario are available as insured or uninsured services based on established criteria.

Insured PET scan services are paid for eligible patients through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

Uninsured PET scan services for eligible patients – including selected clinical trials, the PET Registry and the PET Access Program – are paid by PET Scans Ontario. Patients must be covered under OHIP.

There is no charge to the patient for these insured or uninsured PET scan services.

PET scans are not funded for Ontario residents who receive a PET scan either:

  • within Canada for services outside of the insured or uninsured programs
  • out of country without prior approval from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Out of Country unit

PET scans are provided at 12 PET Centres across the province.



Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Insured – OHIP)

Insured services (covered under OHIP)

Indications (diseases or conditions) that meet all of these criteria:

  • there is sufficient evidence that the PET scan has the potential to benefit the patient
  • there are advantages over other imaging tests
  • the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has approved funding

PET Scans Ontario Program (Uninsured Services)

PET Registry

Indications for which PET scanning has been shown to be useful in certain circumstances, but for which the evidence is not sufficiently strong to include it as an insured service

PET clinical trials

Indications for which the usefulness of PET scanning is being evaluated.

The PET Scans Ontario Program supports PET clinical trials approved by the PET Steering Committee and conducted by the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group (OCOG).

PET Access Program

Indications and circumstances that do not meet eligibility criteria for the insured program, the PET Registry or an active clinical trial, where a panel of experts agree that a PET scan will provide benefit to the patient over other available tests

Other PET clinical trials may be available through local hospitals. These are run by local investigators and are not part of the PET Scans Ontario program. Contact your physician or local hospital for more information.

How funding decisions are made

A Provincial PET Steering Committee, made up of clinical experts, makes evidence-based recommendations to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on the use of PET scans in Ontario.

Find out more about the Provincial PET Steering Committee

Ontario’s evidence-based approach to PET

Ontario uses scientific evidence to inform decisions about the use of PET scans.

A review of the literature by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in December 2000 found little evidence to show that PET made a significant clinical difference in the majority of the clinical conditions that were reviewed. The review concluded that  PET scanning should be used only if the results of the test would affect patient management .

Based on the ICES review, the Ontario government established an evaluation program to investigate where PET improves diagnosis and treatment decisions, and to provide evidence to support its use. This led to the creation of the PET Registry and the OCOG clinical trials, which are now part of the PET Scans Ontario program.

PET Scans Ontario helps people avoid unnecessary testing by making PET scans available only for situations where it has been shown that patients will benefit from the test. The program also facilitates the review of new evidence to make sure Ontario’s patients get access to the right care.