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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to questions on health care during Question Period in Ottawa. Source: CPAC

Feds pitch $196B health plan; call it a “generational fix for ailing system”

By Steve MacArthur Feb 7, 2023 | 4:49 PM

The federal government is calling it a generational fix for an ailing health care system.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pitching a $196-billion health care plan over the next 10 years.

Roughly $46-billion will be entirely new money and also includes a five per cent increase in annual transfers.

However, some premiers feel there’s not enough new dollars being funnelled to provinces in the plan and many are taking a “wait and see” approach.

Part of the proposed deal will see an immediate $2-billion to address pressures in pediatric hospitals, emergency rooms and surgical backlogs.

Trudeau made the pitch during a meeting on Tuesday with Canada’s 13 premiers in Ottawa.

Other details:

  • An immediate, unconditional $2 billion Canada Health Transfer (CHT) top-up to address immediate pressures on the health care system, especially in pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and long wait times for surgeries. This builds on previous CHT top-ups that total $6.5 billion provided throughout the pandemic.
  • A 5 per cent CHT guarantee for the next five years, which will be provided through annual top-up payments as required. This is projected to provide an additional $17.3 billion over 10 years in new support. The last top-up payment will be rolled into the CHT base at the end of the five years to ensure a permanent funding increase, providing certainty and sustainability to provinces and territories. With this guarantee, the CHT is projected to grow by 33 per cent over the next five years, and 61 per cent over the next 10 years.
  • $25 billion over 10 years to advance shared health priorities through tailored bilateral agreements that will support the needs of people in each province and territory in four areas of shared priority:
    • family health services;
    • health workers and backlogs;
    • mental health and substance use; and
    • a modernized health system.

These additional federal investments will be contingent on continued health care investments by provinces and territories. This funding builds on the $7.8 billion over five years that has yet to flow to provinces and territories for mental health and substance use, home and community care, and long-term care.

  • $1.7 billion over five years to support hourly wage increases for personal support workers and related professions, as federal, provincial, and territorial governments work together on how best to support recruitment and retention.
  • $150 million over five years for the Territorial Health Investment Fund in recognition of medical travel and the cost of delivering health care in the territories.

In addition, the government will work with Indigenous partners to provide additional support for Indigenous health priorities:

  • $2 billion over 10 years to address the unique challenges Indigenous Peoples face when it comes to fair and equitable access to quality and culturally safe health care services. The government will work with Indigenous partners to prioritize investments.

These investments, on top of already significant funding, will help build a health care system that includes:

  • access to high-quality family health services when they need them, including in rural and remote areas, and for underserved communities;
  • a resilient and supported health care workforce that provides high-quality, effective, and safe health care services;
  • access to timely, equitable, and quality mental health, substance use, and addictions services to support Canadians’ well-being;
  • access to a patient’s own electronic health information that is shared between the health professionals they consult; and
  • access to home care and safe long-term care so Canadians can age safely and live in dignity.


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