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Health, united front of Canadian provincial ministers: “We need more money”

VANCOUVER – United front of the provincial and territorial ministries of Health to ask for more federal funding for Canadian health which, amidst staff shortages and a lack of family doctors, is literally on its knees. Today, on the second day of meetings in Vancouver, the holders of the provincial departments have renewed their requests from the federal counterpart: Minister Jean-Yves Duclos. 

The spokesman for the “team” of the Provinces was, once again, the Minister of Health of British Columbia, Adrian Dix: “We will examine any offer from Duclos, but it is clear that we want federal funding to go from 22% to 35% of our health expenditure”. Dix also announced that provincial ministries of health will support each other “as all jurisdictions face a personnel crisis while still trying to overcome the pandemic.” In addition, he called a national meeting on Canada Health Transfer, federal money to provinces and territories, in line with what he said was a promise from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he first took office in 2015. Federal Minister Duclos, for his part, had anticipated the moves of the provincial ministries by issuing a statement on the first day of the meetings, Monday.

“Our health workers – Minister Duclos wrote – are experiencing significant strain and facing common challenges across the country. All levels of government owe it to them and to Canadians to come together and find immediate and longer-term solutions to address these challenges. The needs of health workers must be reflected in the discussions of health ministers here in Vancouver”.

“In the spirit of collaborative leadership, I’m glad to confirm that the Canadian government is ready to increase healthcare investments through the Canada Health Transfer. We would do this if provinces and territories (PT) are prepared to commit to a meaningful expansion in the sharing and use of common key health indicators and to build a world-class health data system for Canada. This further cooperation will help us do things like better plan for our workforce, ensure Canadians can access their own health records and allow Canadians to see the result of an improved health system”.

“In addition, we are also ready to invest in funding through tailor-made agreements with provinces and territories that will allow us to provide better care to Canadians. These kinds of targeted investments will allow PTs to respond to shared areas of priorities with the Canadian government like health workers, and increased access to family health teams and mental health services”.

Today, the meetings continued and while we are writing, an official and definitive response from the federal government to the requests made by the provincial ministers had not yet arrived. The intention, according to what was announced on Monday by the Federal Minister of Health, also confirmed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was in any case to increase funding to the Provinces with a view to strengthening health services throughout the country.

In the pic, Ministers of Health today in Vancouver (from Twitter, Adrian Dix  – @adriandix)

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