Health transfers: The ball is in the provinces' court, says Duclos

Spread the love

Health transfers: the ball is in the provinces' court, says Duclos

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos maintains that clear performance targets must be established.

The federal Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos, believes that it is up to the premiers of the provinces to indicate to the federal government how they intend to deliver better results in their respective public systems in order to unblock the discussions on an increase in transfers paid by Ottawa to cover part of the expenses.

The ball is in the court of the provincial premiers, he said Wednesday during a #x27;a press briefing. In his opinion, health ministers from different levels of government are privately agreeing on the goals to be achieved, but discussions are stalled because of provincial and territorial premiers.

This declaration comes two days before a meeting scheduled between the Prime Minister of Quebec, François Legault, and that of Canada, Justin Trudeau. They will discuss the long-standing demand from all provinces for an increase in federal health transfers to increase the federal contribution from 22% to 35% of health care costs.

We are going to continue talking about how we are going to deliver a system that will have the results that Canadians need. We need to improve our health systems, said Mr. Trudeau on this subject, in a scrum before taking part in the weekly meeting with his caucus.

He also added, in his brief exchange with the journalists, that the federal government absolutely has a role to play, specifying that his government recognizes the leadership of the provinces in matters of health.

Mr. Duclos, during his press briefing aimed at providing an update on several issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, once again underlined the fact that Ottawa judges that the provinces and territories are formulating their criticisms of underfunding to the federal government based on inaccurate figures.

We must recognize what is already done, he summarized, reiterating that Ottawa is in fact calculating that it is already investing 35% for partially cover the costs of provincial and territorial health systems.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos points out that the federal government is already largely funding provincial health systems and is again calling for quantified objectives.

Asked to say if this recognition is the condition sine qua nonmissing for the federal government to actually commit to extending a well-defined recurring additional amount, Mr. Duclos did not answer the question directly.

He argued , in response to another related question, that the goal is not to do accounting.

“Emphasizing percentage points and tax points makes it easy distance me from the real concerns of people. »

— Jean-Yves Duclos, Federal Minister of Health

In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press earlier this week, Prime Minister Trudeau also pleaded that Canadians who are, for example, waiting for a family doctor don't have to argue about the numbers.

Honestly, families don't give a damn about those arguments. What they want is to be able to see a doctor, to have a nurse who isn't burnt out from the hours she's putting in when she's there to take care of our parents, he insisted.

People want results. And how do we get there? They expect us to work it out, Mr. Trudeau continued.

If the federal government insists that it expects the provinces to agree with it on the results and the ways to achieve them, Mr. Duclos, for his part, praised the plan put in place. ;before by the government of Quebec in terms of data sharing.

On the sidelines of a meeting held in Vancouver in November between Mr. Duclos and his provincial counterparts, the federal minister demanded that the provinces accept the the use of common health indicators as well as the creation of a world-class health data system for the country.

The government of François Legault has since signaled that it is open to sharing data and the Minister of Health Christian Dubé has presented his roadmap in this regard.

“Mr. health data is excellent. It is exactly this kind of plan that we want to support, not only across Quebec, but also elsewhere in Canada. »

— Jean-Yves Duclos, Federal Minister of Health

The Minister assured that Mr. Trudeau would reiterate to Mr. Legault, during their meeting on Friday, that he fully intends to respect the concept of provincial jurisdiction.

The Prime Minister covered this point extensively during his year-end interview with The Canadian Press.

It takes a transformation of a system and it's not transformations that the federal government has the expertise to say, “See, you have to do this or do that,” he said.

He declared that it is quite reasonable to ask for results to be achieved with the additional funds expected from the federal government since, according to his government, it is what Canadians expect.

We, when we do health transfers, it's taxpayers' money, he noted. They are tax payers [from] across the country contributing to their own health care systems.

Can Quebec legitimately fear becoming isolated in negotiations if Ottawa decides to opt for piecemeal arrangements with certain provinces?

Mr. Trudeau first answered, to this question, that his constituents in his riding of Papineau just want better access to the services they need for their children and that all the premiers of all the provinces, including the Quebec, want to deliver improvements in our health care system. He then went on to say that his government recognizes that the provinces do not all have the same needs.

“We are not here to force the provinces to improve systems that are not in their priorities, that they do not need. We recognize how different provinces have different requirements, different needs. We have demonstrated this with child care systems. We recognized that Quebec already had [its network].

— Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, in an interview with The Canadian Press

Also invited to comment on possible fears that Quebec would be isolated in the negotiations on the increase in health transfers, Mr. Duclos answered evasively on this notion of heterogeneity.

I would say that in Canada – and we did this in 2017 and again during COVID-19 – there is always the need to recognize the diversity of conditions and the diversity of ambitions that we naturally have in a federation.

Recently, the premiers of the provinces and territories again requested a meeting with Mr. Trudeau on the subject of health funding. They now want that to happen in early 2023.

Questioned on the request during Wednesday's question period – the last of the parliamentary session – the federal prime minister countered that none of his predecessors met as many provincial premiers over a health crisis as he did. He has, by the same token, promised to continue to meet [them] regularly.

Previous Article
Next Article