OTTAWA, November 13, 2020 – Canada’s Premiers are pleased that a First Ministers Meeting dedicated to long-term health funding through the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) will take place in early December.
As Premiers prepare for the meeting, they are focused on ensuring Canadians continue to receive the high-quality health care they need, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and for years to come. Recently, Premiers released an information document explaining why the federal government needs to become a full funding partner, and adequately support health care for Canadians. A recently published Conference Board of Canada report confirms that the COVID-19 pandemic has already had a significant impact on Canada’s health care sector and that total health care expenditures are projected to increase at a pace that far exceeds the rate of growth of the CHT.
On November 6, 2020, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that the federal government’s fiscal situation is sustainable in the long term, even when taking COVID spending into account, contrary to those of provincial and territorial governments.
“The Prime Minister has assured us that the federal government will support provinces and territories. The most efficient way the federal government can support us is by increasing the federal share of health funding through the CHT from 22% to 35%, and maintaining at least this share of funding over time,” said Québec Premier François Legault, Chair of the Council of the Federation.
Provinces and territories are on the frontlines of health care and are best placed to determine and respond to the needs of their residents. It is the provinces and territories that administer and deliver the health care services that Canadians rely on. Adequate, sustainable CHT funding will give provinces and territories the ability to provide health services that Canadians expect, such as increasing the availability of hospital beds, hiring more professionals to deliver care, responding to Canadians’ mental health needs and modernizing our health care systems to keep pace with new technologies. Long-term, adequate and sustainable federal funding through the CHT would provide provinces and territories the full flexibility they need to address their own unique circumstances and priorities.
For years, Premiers have been calling on the federal government to become a full funding partner. When First Ministers meet in early December, Premiers look forward to a positive response from the Prime Minister to their proposal to rebalance health care funding for the good of all Canadians.
The Council of the Federation comprises all 13 provincial and territorial Premiers. It enables Premiers to work collaboratively, form closer ties, foster constructive relationships among governments, and show leadership on important issues that matter to Canadians.
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