Health Transfers: Ottawa and provinces discuss 10-year deal
Negotiations have seen 'significant progress' , rejoices Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says that discussions with provinces and territories on investments in health care continue in a collaborative spirit.
Everything indicates that the negotiations currently being conducted by the Trudeau government and the provinces and territories of Canada on the increase in health transfers could lead to a long-term compromise. A 10-year deal is on the table, according to information obtained by the Globe and Mail and validated by Radio-Canada.
Asked about this on Friday morning, the Federal Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos, was careful not to confirm such a breakthrough, stressing that the talks were still in progress. However, he admitted that there was now talk of a long-term agreement with his provincial counterparts.
Health funding is a bone of contention in the relations between Ottawa and the provinces. They have been demanding for several years that Ottawa increase its transfers to cover 35% of system costs. This rate is currently 22%. The difference is estimated at $28 billion per year.
The federal government, for its part, has shown itself open in recent years to increasing its health transfers, even making a few one-time payments on occasion. However, he repeatedly mentioned conditions.
Reviled by the provinces, this expression has since been transformed in the mouths of Trudeau government representatives into common priorities, namely: delays in surgeries; mental health; access to family health services; long-term and home care; and data sharing and virtual care.
At a press conference, Minister Duclos would not say on Friday if his government was willing to cover 35% of the expenses provincial health authorities, arguing that he did not wish to negotiate in the public square.
However, he confirmed that the talks had made significant progress in the weeks, even saying they are very optimistic for the future.
“More and more, we are talking about what we would like to do in terms of additional results with the additional amounts that the Prime Minister has [promised] for the next few years. Because these are not short term investments, they are long term investments that should be made. »
— Jean-Yves Duclos, Federal Minister of Health
Premiers are due to meet next month to discuss health funding, and Justin Trudeau could attend if an agreement is within reach, Radio-Canada revealed on Monday.
If Minister Duclos had warned the next day that there was still “a lot of work to do”, the Liberal government would now consider the possibility of taking the opportunity to announce the conclusion of an agreement , according to the Globe and Mail.
The conclusion of an agreement on the increase in health transfers therefore seems more and more likely, judging by the sounds of bells heard in Ottawa and in the provincial capitals.
If things seem to be moving quickly on this file, it is in particular because Doug Ford broke the common front of the provinces last week by declaring that Ontario was now ready to accept that the federal government impose certain conditions on a possible increase in health transfers.
The status quo is unacceptable, he said again on Friday. Many people want to end this endless debate about our healthcare system that has been going on for decades. Ontarians want action.
François Legault's cabinet had also indicated last week that Quebec was ready to continue to share all of [its] data to advance the file, specifying that said data was already publicly available. QS and the PQ had nevertheless accused the Prime Minister of “capitulating”.
Coming to his defense on Friday, Quebec Minister of Health Christian Dubé assured that Mr. Legault had to at the heart of the federal transfer file. I have 100% confidence in my prime minister, he said.
According to the Globe and Mail, discussions are going well between the Trudeau and Ford governments concerning an envelope of 70 billion dollars reserved for Ontario.
Part of this sum, underlines the daily, should be used improve home care and build long-term care facilities to reduce pressure on hospitals.
All things considered, an equivalent agreement would result in a federal investment $42 billion over 10 years in Quebec.
Asked to comment on such numbers on Noon News, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said it was a step in the right direction and promised that #x27;he would continue to pressure the Trudeau government to increase these amounts, having reached an “agreement of support and trust” with him.
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In Quebec, as in the other Canadian provinces, health spending is under constant upward pressure due to the aging of the population and the demographic boom generated by the rising immigration thresholds.
Combined with labor shortages, these two phenomena have strained the country's public health system, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
With information from Christian Noël