VICTORIA (the traditional and unceded territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən speaking peoples) - Canada’s premiers are meeting for the Council of the Federation today and tomorrow (July 11-12, 2022). A major feature of this meeting will be the call by provincial and territorial governments to increase federal funding for health care through the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) from 22% to 35%.
Provincial and Territorial Health Coalitions and the Canadian Health Coalition support this call but this funding needs to come with firm accountability and transparency mechanisms. Federal funding must be used to ensure that funding is not diverted away from the public system to expand for-profit delivery of care.
When public health care was first established in Canada, the federal government contributed 50% of the costs. Over time, this percentage has decreased, with federal funding currently covering only 22% of the costs of health care. Most recently, the Harper-era cuts to health care funding to the provinces and territories, maintained by Prime Minister Trudeau, have proven unsustainable. Provincial and territorial governments are right to call on the federal government to reverse Ottawa’s declining share of health care spending.
At the same time, we have noted with alarm that ideologically driven provincial governments have used the cover of COVID-19 to expand the private provision of health care services including surgical and diagnostic procedures, long-term care and out-patient care. Many of these same provincial governments have said they will refuse to participate in the planned expansion of our national Medicare umbrella to include pharmcare and dental care.
Canadians want and deserve a public health care system that is based on patient need, not on wealth. Increased federal funding for health care must not be used to pay down provincial deficits, cut taxes or create more profits for private interests counter to the Canada Health Act.
Therefore, Canada’s health coalitions call for a new Health Accord to be negotiated, including:
- Increased health care federal funding from 22% to 35% as called for by the provincial and territorial governments
- Clear federal requirements for the spending and reporting of those transfer funds
- Strengthened monitoring and enforcement of the Canada Health Act
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