Canadian provinces and territories ask feds for better healthcare funding

Feb 4 2022, 9:03 pm

British Columbia Premier John Horgan led a virtual news conference from Victoria with all of Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers on Friday afternoon.

Horgan was joined by Doug Ford (Ontario), François Legault (Quebec), Jason Kenney (Alberta), Heather Stefanson (Manitoba), Scott Moe (Saskatchewan), Tim Houston (Nova Scotia), Blaine Higgs (New Brunswick), Dennis King (Prince Edward Island), Andrew Fleury (Newfoundland/Labrador), and Sandy Silver (Yukon).

During the meeting, Horgan, who hosted the event in his capacity as chair of the Council of the Federation, said different provincial and territorial leaders came together to request better and more healthcare funding from the Canadian federal government.

“The pandemic has strained the healthcare system,” says Horgan. “All 13 premiers agree we need a long-term increase in funding to meet the challenges coming out of the pandemic to ensure the services people need are being respected.”

According to Horgan, the federal government currently funds 22% of health expenses in Canada and respective provinces finance the remaining 78%. The BC premier says there needs to be a “rebalancing of funding to ensure [provinces and territories] can provide services people depend on.”

Horgan says all premiers had a “very productive” discussion that included engagement from across the country from coast to coast, from large provinces to small territories.

The BC premier says the federal government has been an “outstanding partner” throughout the pandemic but claims the time has come for provinces and territories to come together to renew the partnership of public healthcare in Canada.

Specifically, Horgan said healthcare in Canada is “as Canadian as hockey.” He says public health care is “precious to us all” and that it needs to be nurtured. Horgan, speaking on behalf of the rest of the leaders, says provinces and territories need an “influx of cash from Ottawa.”

Horgan continued that Canadian leaders “want to put COVID behind us,” but stressed that politicians “need to make sure we hold the line.”

Speaking to the nation in French, Horgan called on Quebec Premier François Legault to speak, saying Canada “already had a healthcare problem before the pandemic hit,” and claimed provinces and territories needed “even more,” specifically within hotel capacity.

Legault says health is the “only expense” that increases every five to 10 years because the population gets older. The Quebec premier says provincial and territorial leaders have agreed to alter the federal health funding balance from 22% and 78% to 35% and 65%.

According to Legault, $28 billion is allocated to annual funding across the nation and it is “absolutely necessary to fund our health care properly.”

Speaking to the feds, Horgan asks Ottawa to increase the funding from 22% to 35% and asked that “transfers be made without conditions.”

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