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Quebec risks losing 900 million by the end of March without a health agreement with Ottawa

Photo: Christine Muschi The Canadian Press Quebec Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, prepares to speak at a press conference in Montreal, September 11, 2023.

Émilie Bergeron – The Canadian Press

7:06 p.m.

  • Canada

Ottawa plans to withhold nearly $1 billion in additional federal funds intended for Quebec in health matters for 2023-2024 if the province has not signed a bilateral agreement with Justin Trudeau's government here as of March 31.

The office of Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé mentioned this amount in a written statement sent Wednesday, denouncing the “threat of making the amounts expire.”

A federal source familiar with the matter provided similar information on the size of the payout at stake, indicating that it is approximately $900 million. The Canadian Press granted her anonymity because she was not authorized to speak publicly about discussions between the two levels of government.

By announcing an increase in Ottawa's investments in health of $46 billion over 10 years, more than a year ago, the Trudeau government announced that a portion of $25 billion would go through individual agreements and another through an enhancement of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT).

The share of the overall envelope to go to Quebec is approximately $10 billion over 10 years, including $4.8 billion from a possible bilateral agreement.

“To receive the funding planned for 2023-2024 under individual bilateral agreements, the provinces and territories must sign such an agreement by March 31, 2024,” however, Ottawa reported, as what was written in his fall economic statement.

The federal source added that the TCS bonus guarantee – an annual increase of 5% over five years – is conditional on the expected signature.

As this deadline approaches, federal Health Minister Mark Holland said Tuesday that he will have brought together the six non-signatory provinces and territories, including Quebec, in time for the deadline set by the Trudeau government. . He, in doing so, recalled the deadline in question.

Apart from Quebec, the other provinces that do not have a final agreement with Ottawa have all reached agreements in principle.

“Health is a field of jurisdiction that belongs to the provinces and […] there is no reason that justifies the federal government not disbursing the agreed amounts,” declared the office of M .Dubé, who contests the validity of the deadline.

It was stated that “it has happened several times in the past that a negotiation with the federal government goes beyond the framework of the financial year and that the sums are carried over to the following year and paid from retroactively.”

According to the federal source, for Quebec to receive the $900 million retroactively, a decision to this effect from the federal council of ministers will be necessary.

Mr. Holland’s office, for its part, was not able to confirm the amount that Quebec risks losing. Since Tuesday, it has been argued that the height of the annual payments will be determined in the bilateral agreements themselves.

With these agreements, the federal government wants to obtain from the provinces “action plans describing how the funds will be spent [in addition to existing expenditures] and how progress will be measured”, had- we clarified last year.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116