Trudeau to hold health care funding talks with premiers next month, sources say – National | PKBNEWS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s premiers will meet in Ottawa next month to hammer out a new health care funding deal.

Two federal sources on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, say Trudeau will announce the meeting this morning.

The Prime Minister and his cabinet are on the third and final day of a retreat in Hamilton, Ontario. before Parliament resumes next week.

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The ongoing negotiations for a new healthcare financing pact were at the heart of the retreat.

The sources say the meeting is not intended to finalize a new pact but rather to solidify the steps needed to reach such an agreement.

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A spokesperson for British Columbia Premier David Eby told The Canadian Press that the premiers will be in Ottawa Feb. 12-13 for a meeting and that Trudeau is invited to join them.

Premiers and the federal government have been tinkering around a new deal for months.

Canada’s healthcare system is under strain after three years of COVID-19 and a growing shortage of healthcare workers.

Premiers are calling on Ottawa to increase its share of health care budgets to 35% from about 22% currently.

Trudeau and Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos have not publicly specified how much Ottawa is willing to add to health care funding, but said any new money will require provinces to show how it will be used to improve care. to patients.

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Specifically, Ottawa wants commitments to increase access to family doctors, end the long backlog of surgeries, improve mental health care, address the health issues of an aging population, and overhaul patient data systems. healthcare, including digital medical records.

In November, a meeting of health ministers ended in turmoil when the provinces refused to agree to any new funding agreements with strings attached.

But progress has been made since Christmas, and Ontario and Quebec have signaled their willingness to give Ottawa what it wants at least in data and medical records technology.

Ottawa transferred $45.2 billion to the provinces for health care in the current fiscal year and currently expects it to increase that amount to $49.4 billion in 2023-24. According to the existing agreement, transfers increase by at least three percent per year, or more if economic growth exceeds this figure.

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Collectively, the provinces spend more than a third of their budgets on health care.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday that despite economic uncertainty, Ottawa knows Canadians expect all governments to find a way to protect and improve Canada’s valuable public health care system.

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