Canada’s premiers on Thursday sent a message to recently re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: they want the federal government to increase its share of health care spending, and soon.
Premiers from 10 provinces and two territories participated in a Council of the Federation teleconference to discuss a range of issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery. Health care financing dominated their discussion.
Nunavut is in a period of transition due to an election in that territory and did not participate.
British Columbia Premier John Horgan, who is Chairman of the Council of the Federation, called the request “urgent”.
“Provincial and territorial health systems face serious challenges and urgent action is needed,” Horgan said in a press release. “To effectively meet these challenges, the newly re-elected federal government must work with Premiers to put in place an immediate and continued increase in health care funding through the Canada Health Transfer.
“Canadians expect us to work together, and Premiers are ready to begin this work, but we need a federal partner.
Specifically, the Premiers want the federal share of health care costs to drop from 22% to 35% and maintain this cost allocation.
Premiers also want a first ministers meeting “on unconditional long-term health financing.” They are asking that this meeting take place before the next Speech from the Throne, and certainly before the end of the year.
At a press conference, Horgan acknowledged that the demand for more money for health care is not new among the provinces.
“There are new [premiers], but not a new resolution, ”Horgan said.
Trudeau and the Liberals pledged $ 25 billion in new health care funding during the election campaign, but the money would come with strings attached – including hiring targets for healthcare workers and pay increases for personal support workers.
Premiers want the new health care dollars to be unconditional, the statement said.
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In an interview with TBEN Power and politicsNew Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs told host David Common his province would not necessarily refuse health care money with strings attached.
“We wouldn’t say no, but you have to say, ‘First I have to understand what the commitments are behind this funding’, because we have our own priorities here that we believe are important to the people of this province,” he said.
Higgs added that he was optimistic that a productive conversation could take place between the federal government and the provinces on health care.
“At the end of the day, if our common goal is to achieve better outcomes for the delivery of health care in our respective provinces, then that’s great, we’re all on the same page,” he said. -he declares.
“Then it’s about defining, what does improved health care really look like? So it’s not just about: “We’re going to spend money here because it was a title in an election platform.” “