Trudeau and premiers to meet next month to discuss health care deal – National | PKBNEWS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with Canada’s premiers next month to strike a deal on health care funding after months of heavy push from the premiers for a summit.

Trudeau said Wednesday he had invited the premiers to a Feb. 7 “working meeting” in Ottawa to share the federal government’s plans to support health systems across Canada and to hear their priorities for investment. .

“Let’s be clear, providing money is certainly part of the solution, and we will, but funding alone will not solve the problems we are seeing,” he told reporters, speaking from Hamilton, in Ontario.

“Reliable and universal public health care is essential for Canadians, and we must keep it that way. … We have a great and amazing country built on strong and progressive institutions like health care that Canadians care deeply about and we are doing the hard work to strengthen health care and make sure we all deliver on this country’s promise. .”

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Canada’s 13 prime ministers come from different political persuasions, but they have been united in their calls for an increase in the Canada Health Transfer to provinces and territories. They want what would amount to a $28 billion increase in the Canada Health Transfer, which they say will bring the federal contribution to health care costs to 35%, up from 22% currently.

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With health care now taking up more than a third of their budget, premiers say Ottawa needs to contribute more to these rising costs, even though many provinces have run budget surpluses in recent months.

Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland made a pointed reference to that on Tuesday, stressing that health care is a provincial responsibility and that “with authority comes responsibility.”

“The fiscal position of many Canadian provinces is very strong today and I think Canadians naturally and rightly expect provinces to use this fiscal capacity to support the health care systems on which we all depend. Freeland said.

Trudeau said he was prepared to increase federal health transfers to the provinces, but only if they agreed to a common set of priorities that would deliver “tangible results” that would improve patient care for Canadians.

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Last week, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said those priorities include: reducing backlogs and supporting health care workers, improving access to family medicine, improving mental health services, helping Canadians age with dignity, and agreements to modernize and share health data. Until recently, premiers were firm in saying they wanted more money from Ottawa with no strings attached.

But last week Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier Francois Legault, who represent Canada’s two most populous provinces, said they would be willing to agree to terms, including increased sharing of health data.

On Tuesday, Freeland pointed out that his Liberal Party made a number of health funding commitments during the 2021 election campaign, saying the federal government “will be true” to those campaign promises. They included $4 billion to help eliminate waiting lists, $3 billion over four years to help hire 7,500 family doctors, nurse practitioners, and $400 million over four years to expand services virtual health.

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To date, only $2 billion of that campaign pledge has materialized, intended to reduce waiting lists for surgeries and diagnoses.

“We will be true to those commitments, that’s a promise we made to Canadians,” Freeland said Tuesday.

“I think it’s only fitting that the federal government is playing its part to ensure that our health care system is strong, stable and has the capacity to meet some of the new challenges of the 21st century.

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