Just as Canada’s health ministers meet about their floundering health systems, the federal government says it’s ready to increase health-care transfers to provinces and territories.
However, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says the jurisdictions must commit to expanding the use of common key health indicators and to build a “world-class” health data system for the country.
Duclos made the statements just before the ministers held a news conference in Vancouver, setting out their proposals for an increase in Canada health transfers.
Host minister Adrian Dix says the provinces and territories had settled on a “united and common approach” to take to Duclos, that health transfers should be increased to 35 per cent, a level that should be maintained.
He says given what the territories and provinces have been through with COVID-19, there needs to be a national conference on the health transfer system to reach a funding agreement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier in Montreal that the government has committed to investing “significantly more” in health care, but it wants assurances people have access to a family doctor and to mental health services.
Dix says the situation demands particular urgency because “this is going to be a difficult winter,” referring to an expected spike in respiratory illnesses “including but not limited to COVID-19.”
The meetings in Vancouver are the first time all of Canada’s health ministers have gathered in person since 2018.