OTTAWA, ON, Feb. 27, 2023 /CNW/ – Canada’s universal, accessible and publicly funded healthcare is a point of pride for Canadians. However, health workers across Canada are under enormous strain to deliver the care that Canadian patients deserve. Immediate, collaborative, action is needed to deliver better health care for Canadians.
On February 7, 2023, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $198.6 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding for provinces and territories to improve health care services for Canadians. This funding includes an immediate, unconditional $2 billion Canada Health Transfer (CHT) top-up to address immediate pressures on the health care system.
Today, the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta are taking the next step by announcing an agreement in principle for a shared plan that will invest $24.18 billion in federal funding over 10 years in Alberta, including $2.92 billion for a new bilateral agreement focusing on the shared health care priorities and $233 million through the immediate, one-time CHT top-up to address urgent needs, especially in pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and long wait times for surgeries. This will further help provide Albertans with improvements in health care that includes:
- access to high-quality family health services when they need them, including in rural and remote areas, and for underserved communities;
- a resilient and supported health workforce that provides them high-quality, effective, and safe health care services;
- access to timely, equitable, and quality mental health, substance use and addictions services; and
- access to their own electronic health information that is shared between the health professionals they consult.
Helping Canadians age with dignity, closer to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility is another shared health priority where collaborative work is already underway.
By reaching an agreement in principle, Canada and Alberta are committing to the plan laid out on February 7, 2023, which includes shared commitments to collect, use and share depersonalized health information and to inform Canadians of their progress with key common headline indicators. Work will now begin on a bilateral agreement based on an initial 3-year action plan that will detail targets, timelines and additional common indicators related shared health priorities in each jurisdiction.
As part of this collaborative health plan, Canada will work with Alberta to streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals and advance labour mobility for key health professionals. Furthermore, Alberta commits to an integrated, inclusive approach to investments in health service teams, the health workforce, and data and digital tools that will help to meet the health and mental health needs of Canadians.
We will fulfill our shared responsibility to uphold the Canada Health Act that protects Canadians’ access to health care that is based on need and not ability to pay. We recognize the right of Indigenous Peoples to fair and equal access to quality and culturally safe health services free from racism and discrimination anywhere in Canada.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we showed that we can work together to tackle big challenges. We will work to deliver outcomes for Canadians and improve the health care system that Canadians value and depend on.
“Today’s agreement in principle with Alberta is an opportunity to continue our collaboration and improve the experience of health workers and those they care for. It will modernize our health care system, improve access to family health services and mental health services, reduce surgical backlogs and support health workers. Better quality of care means helping Albertans and Canadians live longer, healthier lives.”
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
“Today’s agreement in principle with Alberta builds on our shared objective of ensuring all Canadians, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay, can access the care they need, when they need it. Our government will continue to work with our partners across the country to build a better health care system.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
“Mental health is health, and through this agreement in principle, we will be working with Alberta to integrate mental health and substance use care as a full and equal part of our universal health care system. This agreement will help to provide greater access to mental health services, reduce substance use harms, and lower stigma. Together, we must ensure that all Canadians have access to supports and services for their mental health and well-being – when they need them, wherever they need them.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health
“Improving health care in Alberta is one of our government’s top priorities and this agreement in principle will support our efforts to deliver on our commitment to Albertans. We are leading the country in health care reform and are focused on ensuring Albertans can access world-class care when and where they need it. This is a productive first step and I look forward to continued discussions with the Government of Canada on how we can achieve longer-term sustainable funding.”
The Honourable Danielle Smith
Premier of Alberta
Like all other provinces across the country, Alberta has been faced with significant health care challenges. We have already made significant steps in addressing these challenges by increasing system capacity, recruiting and hiring more health care workers and implementing changes to improve the system. I look forward to working with the federal government to develop the details for implementation in the areas of shared interest so we can achieve better health outcomes for all Albertans.”
The Honourable Jason Copping
Minister of Health Alberta
SOURCE Health Canada
For further information: Contacts: Guillaume Bertrand, Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Jean-Sébastien Comeau, Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor, Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, 343-574-8116; Maja Staka, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, 343-552-5568; Public Enquiries: 613-957-2991, 1-866-225-0709; Media Relations, Health Canada, 613-957-2983, [email protected]