Health Care

Premiers are committed to ensuring that all Canadians receive high-quality health services while keeping the healthcare system sustainable, in the future. Mental health continues to be an area of focus for all provinces and territories, as all Canadians are affected by mental health issues.

Healthcare Sustainability

Premiers are committed to improving the quality and sustainability of Canada’s healthcare systems. New technology, advances in treatment and an aging population are putting continued pressure on healthcare budgets, despite efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare spending. This means that provinces and territories, which are responsible for the delivery of healthcare services to Canadians, have less money to invest in operating rooms, medical equipment, the hiring of more healthcare professionals and the provision of supports to help keep Canadians in their own homes.

Provinces and territories have implemented innovative service delivery options to ensure their residents have access to timely, quality services consistent with Canada’s universal healthcare systems. Premiers call on the federal government to respect provincial constitutional and territorial jurisdiction over health to ensure provinces and territories have the flexibility needed to deal with emerging issues while ensuring federal funding continues to flow. Premiers also acknowledge federal funding should be allocated to provinces and territories in a fair and transparent way, and be flexible in how the funding is used to meet the priorities of Canada’s diverse regions.


Since 2010, provinces and territories have also been leaders in reducing the costs of prescription drugs through the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) and, as of April 1, 2020, the pCPA has saved $2.58 billion a year in combined jurisdictional savings. Given this record of accomplishment Premiers urge the federal government to work with provinces and territories regarding any changes to pharmaceutical policy, to build on work already done by provinces and territories to avoid duplication and to further build on the good work that already exists.

Mental Health and Addictions

Mental illness and addictions affect all Canadians at some time, whether it be personally or through family, friends, or colleagues. Culturally-appropriate and patient-centred care is the basis of delivering appropriate mental health and addictions recovery services to patients across Canada.

Provinces and territories continue to provide supports and programs to respond to mental health and addictions challenges within their own communities. In July 2019, Premiers agreed to hold a provincial and territorial symposium on mental health and substance use with the aim to further spur innovation and collaboration between governments, ministries and non-governmental organizations. Given the COVID-19 outbreak, the symposium, which was scheduled to take place in May 2020, is postponed.

The Health Care Innovation Working Group (HCIWG) is composed of provincial and territorial Ministers...